Transjugular renal biopsy in the treatment of patients with cirrhosis and renal abnormalities



When renal lesions are suspected in patients with cirrhosis, clotting disorders often preclude percutaneous renal biopsy. This study was undertaken to determine whether transjugular renal biopsy is possible, safe, and useful in such patients. From 1987 to 1994, 70 patients with cirrhosis and clotting disorders underwent transjugular renal biopsies, providing renal tissue in 55. Of these 55 patients, 41 were Child-Pugh class B or C, 35 were alcoholic, serum creatinine levels were ≥ 130 μmol/L in 46, and proteinuria was ≥ 0.5 g/d in 37. Clinically significant complications of transjugular renal biopsy were persistent hematuria in 4 and perirenal hematoma in 4, requiring blood transfusions in 1 and 2 cases, respectively. There were no deaths related to renal biopsy. Renal lesions were identified as glomerular in 41 (74.5%), interstitial in 7, and end-stage in 2 and were absent in 5. Transjugular renal biopsy influenced treatment in 21 patients (38%), including 11 who were proposed for liver transplantation and 4 who had chronic liver rejection. Decisions based on results of transjugular renal biopsy were to perform liver transplantation in 8 and combined renal and liver transplantation in 5, whereas 2 were refused. In 6 other patients, the results of renal biopsy modified the medical regimen. We conclude that transjugular renal biopsy may be a useful procedure in patients with cirrhosis and clotting disorders. This technique does not entail undue risks and may influence treatment decisions, particularly in patients proposed for liver transplantation.