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West J Med. 1981 Jan;134(1):11-4.

Bleeding after liver biopsy.


During nine years 3,080 liver biopsies were carried out and bleeding occurred in 22 of the patients (0.7 percent). Transfusions were given to 17 of these patients and laparotomies were done to control the bleeding in six. All survived. Bleeding was evident within three hours in 19 patients, but occurred from 3 to 13 days after biopsy in the remaining three. Pain requiring analgesic medication and a fall in blood pressure were the usual indications that major bleeding had occurred. Relative contraindications to biopsy (particularly a prolonged prothrombin time) were present in 10 of the 22 bleeding patients and in only 2 of the 41 nonbleeding controls (P<0.001). We believe that some of the bleeding episodes could have been prevented with more careful attention to the indications and contraindications to biopsy, and more rigorous correction of recognized clotting abnormalities.

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