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Gastroenterology. 1978 Jan;74(1):103-6.

Liver biopsy: complications in 1000 inpatients and outpatients.


We prospectively evaluated risk factors in 1000 consecutive patients who underwent liver biopsy: 829 outpatients and 171 inpatients. The two groups were similar except that the outpatient group had a higher percentage of patients with hepatitis-cirrhosis and a lower percentage with neoplasia when compared with the inpatient group (P less than 0.01). The inpatient group had more relative contraindications (P less than 0.01). Among the 1000 patients, none died and none required laparotomy. If moderate to severe pain or hypotension or both developed (5.9%), they first became manifest during a 3-hr period of observation after biopsy. Forty-four outpatients (5.3%) were hospitalized; 39 were dismissed within 36 hr and 5 within 4 days. Complications were more often experienced by those with relative contraindications (P less than 0.05) and increased number of passes (P less than 0.01). Inpatients with hepatitis-cirrhosis experienced more complications (P less than 0.05) than did patients with other diagnoses (12.8 versus 3.8%). Complications were not related to type of needle, site of entry, or experience of operator. Liver biopsy as an outpatient procedure is safe if facilities are available for 3 hr of observation and hospital support; 5% of patients will require immediate hospitalization.

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