Liver biopsy is an important tool in the management of patients with liver disease.
Biopsy practices may be changing.
Dr Robert Myers and colleagues from Canada described trends in biopsy utilization, the incidence and costs of complications from a population-based perspective in a large Canadian Health Region.
|The overall annual biopsy rate increased by 41% between 1994 and 2002|
The team used administrative databases to identify percutaneous liver biopsies performed between 1994 and 2002.
The research team identified significant complications by reviewing medical records of patients hospitalized within 7 days of a biopsy, and those with a diagnostic code indicative of a procedural complication.
The team analyzed biopsy rates using Poisson regression.
The researchers noted that between 1994 and 2002, 3627 patients had 4275 liver biopsies.
Radiologists performed the majority of these biopsies, particularly during the latter years.
The team found that the overall annual biopsy rate was 55 per 100,000 population with a 41% increase between 1994 and 2002.
Annual increases were greatest in males and patients 30 to 59 years.
The team noted that less that 1% of patients had significant biopsy-related complications.
Pain requiring admission, and bleeding were the most common complications.
The researchers reported that 6 patients died, all of whom had malignancies.
The median direct cost of a hospitalization for complications was $4,579.
Dr Myers' team concluded, "Liver biopsy rates are increasing likely owing to the changing epidemiology and management of common liver diseases."
"The similarity of the complication rate in our population-based study with estimates from specialized centres supports the safety of this important procedure."