To minimize the sample variability of liver biopsy, the tissue length should be at least 25 mm.
Consequently, more than one biopsy pass is needed with cutting biopsy needles.
Dr Robert de Knegt and colleagues investigated the risk factors of biopsy-related complication, including the number of biopsy passes.
All consecutive liver biopsies performed between 2005 and 2014 were included.
Biopsies were ultrasound assisted and performed with cutting biopsy needles.
A complication was an event where the patient visited a healthcare provider because of biopsy-related complaints.
Complications followed by hospitalization 2 or more days or intervention were considered severe.
|Hepatic malignancy was a risk factor of severe complications|
|European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology|
In total, the team analyzed 1806 liver biopsies.
Overall, the researchers observed 6% complications, of which 2% were severe.
The team reported that 1 patient died.
The researchers found that common complications were pain, and bleeding.
The team observed 2 biopsy passes were not associated with an increased risk of complications compared with 1 biopsy pass, whereas 3 or more biopsy passes increased this risk compared with 1 or 2 biopsy passes.
The risk of severe complications was not influenced by the number of biopsy passes.
Hepatic malignancy and international normalized ratio 1.4 or more were risk factors of severe complications.
Dr de Knegt's team comments, "Severe complication rate and mortality were low."
"Performing multiple biopsy passes was not associated with severe complications, whereas hepatic malignancy or elevated international normalized ratio were associated with an increased risk."