The objectives of the study were to evaluate the indications, feasibility, complications and clinical implications of transjugular liver biopsy (TJLB) in children.
Data of all TJLB performed in children <18 years old was retrieved from the computerized hospital information system. TJLB was done using a 19 G quick-core needle biopsy system with 20 mm throw length. Hepatic venous pressure gradient was additionally measured in children with portal hypertension. A single pathologist reviewed all the biopsies again and provided structured information.
A total of 102 children, including 5 with acute liver failure underwent TJLB with technical success in 101 (99%). A mean of 2.3 ± 0.9 passes (range: 1–5) was taken for the biopsy. The most common indications for TJLB in our cohort were elevated international normalized ratio >1.5 (66, 64.7%), ascites (46, 45.1%) and thrombocytopenia (platelet count < 60,000/mm3) (42, 41.2%). Mean size of the tissue received was 14.5 ± 5.6 mm with an average of 10.2 ± 4.7 portal tracts. Only one child developed major (category D) complication (hemobilia) and 12 (11.8%) developed minor complications post-procedure. Etiological diagnosis could be made in a total of 64 (63.9%) children undergoing TJLB, the most common diagnosis being autoimmune hepatitis (n = 31), non-cirrhotic portal fibrosis (n = 16) and drug-induced liver injury (n = 4).
TJLB is well tolerated, feasible and helps make a diagnosis in close to 64% children allowing timely medical and/or surgical intervention. It is especially useful for diagnosis of autoimmune liver diseases, drug-induced liver injury and non-cirrhotic portal fibrosis.