A young man with chronic active hepatitis was heavily sedated during an attempted transjugular liver biopsy. The procedure was abandoned after 3 h and an immediate percutaneous liver biopsy was performed. This showed features of chronic active hepatitis but, in addition, groups of poly-morphonuclear leukocytes in the parenchyma. These were similar to the operation associated neutrophils encountered in liver biopsies taken during the course of abdominal surgery. In a review of 78 liver biopsies from patients with chronic active hepatitis, this type of infiltrate was seen in four of eight surgically resected specimens but not in 70 percutaneous biopsies. The neutrophilic infiltrate in the present case appears to be an unique occurrence in a percutaneous liver biopsy. It was probably related to hypoperfusion during the preceding prolonged sedation and illustrates the ease with which an already diseased liver can be further damaged.
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