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BJU Int. 2010 Jul;106(1):102-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2009.09015.x. Epub 2009 Oct 28.

Open renal biopsy: comorbidities and complications in a contemporary series.

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Department of Urologic Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN 37232-2765, USA.



Therapy (case series) Level of Evidence 4.


To report the indications and outcomes of a contemporary series of patients with contraindications to percutaneous renal biopsies (PRBs) who had an operative RB (ORB), as although ORB is a relatively infrequent procedure, it remains an important and underreported operation.


In a retrospective review of patients who had an ORB we examined comorbidities, indications, and 30-day morbidity and mortality. Preoperative comorbidities were stratified according to the Charlson comorbidity index.


In all, 115 patients had ORB between 1991 and 2006 (mean age 48 years, range 18-83); 60% of the patients were American Society of Anesthesiologists class >or=3. The median Charlson comorbidity index score was 3, with a score of 0 in 20.9%, 1-2 in 27.8%, 3-4 in 30.4% and >or=5 in 20.9% of patients. Indications for an ORB included morbid obesity, failed PRB, coagulopathy, and solitary kidney. In all, 47.8% of patients had a serum creatinine level of <3.0 mg/dL, 34.8% of >3.0 mg/dL and 17.4% were dialysis-dependent. There were 43 complications in 36 patients. The mortality rate after surgery was 0.8%. There were eight major complications in seven patients (6.1%) including cardiac arrest, stroke, sepsis, reoperation and re-intubation. There were minor complications 34 times in 31 patients (27%), the most common being wound infection, pneumonia, intraoperative transfusion of >2 units, arrhythmia, postoperative retroperitoneal bleed, and seep vein thrombosis.


This study shows that there are significant comorbidities in patients referred to urologists for an ORB. With a mortality rate of 0.8% and major and minor complication rates of 6.1% and 27%, respectively, the ORB, while infrequent, carries a significant risk in this population that should be included in preoperative decision making and used for patient counselling.

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