The Practice of Percutaneous Liver Biopsy in a Gastrohepatology Day Hospital: A Retrospective Study on 835 Biopsies

Alda Olivero; Marco Lagget; Rinaldo Pellicano; Antonina Smedile; Mario Rizzetto
October 2007
Digestive Diseases & Sciences;Oct2007, Vol. 52 Issue 10, p2576
Academic Journal
Abstract  The evolving role of liver biopsy has induced the formulation of several guidelines on its appropriateness. However, the great divergence among hepatologists is still unresolved. We report the 4-year activity of a day hospital of gastrohepatology in northern Italy. Between January 2001 and July 2004, 835 subjects (mean age, 43�12 years) underwent this procedure in our facility. Etiologically, in 465 (56%) and 157 (19%) patients, chronic hepatitis C and nonspecific elevated liver biochemical tests were the first and second indications, followed by chronic hepatitis B and suspected nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. On a purpose basis, procedures requested for staging (n = 578) and/or for diagnosis (n = 217) were identified. Among the former, 80% had the scope of staging chronic hepatitis C, and in 15% of these unsuspected superimposed cirrhosis was detected. Among diagnostic procedures, nonspecific raised liver enzyme level ranked first. Twenty-two percent of patients reported unwanted effects following the procedure. In conclusion, these data accord with indications expressed by international guidelines. The impact of liver biopsy on therapeutic decision-making needs to be studied further.


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