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Safety of Pediatric Percutaneous Liver Biopsy Performed by Interventional Radiologists

Potter, Carol*; Hogan, Mark J.; Henry-Kendjorsky, Katherine*; Balint, Jane*; Barnard, John A.*

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: August 2011 - Volume 53 - Issue 2 - p 202–206
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e3182183012
Original Articles: Hepatology and Nutrition

Objective: National data suggest that pediatric percutaneous liver biopsy is increasingly being performed by interventional radiologists rather than pediatric gastroenterologists. The objective of the present report is to describe the safety and effectiveness of percutaneous liver biopsy performed by interventional radiologists in a large cohort of children and to compare the results with the existing literature on biopsies performed by pediatric gastroenterologists.

Patients and Methods: The medical records of 249 children undergoing ultrasound-guided percutaneous liver biopsy by interventional radiologists were reviewed for adverse events and success of obtaining tissue. Two hundred ninety-four biopsies were reviewed.

Results: There were no deaths. There were 2 instances of a 2-g or greater drop in hemoglobin following biopsy, neither of which was associated with clinical signs of hemorrhage. A small, asymptomatic pneumothorax quickly resolved without treatment. One patient developed Klebsiella sepsis 48 hours after biopsy. In all but 1 case, an adequate sample size was obtained. This low incidence of adverse events compares favorably with existing published reports of morbidity and mortality following percutaneous liver biopsy performed by pediatric gastroenterologists.

Conclusions: Ultrasound-guided percutaneous liver biopsy performed by experienced pediatric interventional radiologists in a children's hospital setting is as safe and effective as biopsy performed by pediatric gastroenterologists.

*Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Department of Pediatrics, Nationwide Children's Hospital and Ohio State University

Department of Radiology, Nationwide Children's Hospital and Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Carol Potter, MD, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Nationwide Children's Hospital and the Department of Pediatrics, Ohio State University College of Medicine Columbus, OH 43205 (e-mail:

Received 29 January, 2011

Accepted 1 March, 2011

This work was supported exclusively by intramural funds from Nationwide Children's Hospital.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Copyright 2011 by ESPGHAN and NASPGHAN