Liver biopsy: Increased risks in patients with cancer


  • Harold O. Conn M.D.

    1. Professor of Medicine Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, Connecticut 06510 and the Veterans Administration Medical Center West Haven, Connecticut 06516
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Nine thousand two hundred twelve liver biopsies were performed according to a defined protocol, and data were prospectively recorded to identify risk factors for major bleeding. There were 10 fatal and 22 nonfatal hemorrhages (0.11% and 0.24%, respectively). By comparison with a control group that did not hemorrhage, malignancy, age, sex, and the number of passes were the only predictable risk factors. The risk of fatal hemorrhage in patients with malignancy is estimated to be 0.4%; for nonfatal hemorrhage, 0.57%. In patients undergoing liver biopsy for nonmalignant disease, the risks are 0.04% and 0.16%, respectively.