Interest of transjugular liver biopsy in adult patients with haemophilia or other congenital bleeding disorders infected with hepatitis C virus


Dr N. Stieltjes, Centre de traitement des hémophiles, Hospital Cochin, 27 rue du Faubourg Saint-Jacques, 75014 Paris, France.


Liver histology is important for prognosis and treatment strategy in patients with hepatitis C. We report a 10-year experience of transjugular liver biopsy (TJLB) in patients with haemophilia and other congenital bleeding disorders (CBD) in terms of safety, efficiency and therapeutic consequences. TJLB was proposed to patients who were regularly followed for CBD, and were hepatitis C virus (HCV) positive by polymerase chain reaction. Patients with inhibitors or who were human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive with CD4 cells <0·2 × 109/l or with evidence of liver failure were excluded. TJLB was performed during a short hospitalization with factor replacement. Between 1992 and 2002, 88 TJLB were performed in 69 of 151 adult HCV patients (39% HIV positive). CBD was haemophilia A in 68% and haemophilia B in 24%. Few mild adverse events were recorded. Histology was assessable in 78 of 88 procedures (89%). Twenty-nine (37%) cases demonstrated minimal change (METAVIR A ≤ 1 and F ≤ 1). Extended fibrosis or cirrhosis was recorded in 23 procedures (26%), all in patients whose infection period was longer than 20 years. No relationship between liver histology, HIV status or HCV genotype was found. TJLB appears to be safe and useful in HCV patients with CBD. One-third of patients had minimal histological changes and could avoid systematic anti-HCV treatment.