Background: Liver biopsy carries a small risk of bleeding complications. No validated clinical or laboratory tool helps predict liver biopsy-related bleeding.
Objectives: To determine whether global hemostasis tests and/or a clinical questionnaire could identify patients at risk of liver biopsy-related bleeding.
Patients/methods: Consecutive patients scheduled for liver biopsy with an overnight hospital stay were prospectively included. Before liver biopsy, routine hemostasis tests, Platelet Function Analyzer 100, thromboelastometry, thrombin generation assay, plasma clot lysis time, and a clinical questionnaire were performed. Bleeding was defined as a liver hematoma or new free fluid on a systematic ultrasound performed 24 h after liver biopsy or a decrease in hemoglobin level of 2 g/dL or more in patients with pre-existing free fluid in the abdominal cavity.
Results: Three hundred two patients were included: 173 underwent percutaneous and 129 transjugular liver biopsy. There were 21 bleeding episodes (7%); 20 based on ultrasonographic criteria, 1 on laboratory criteria. None of the hemostasis tests and no item of the clinical questionnaire were associated with liver biopsy-related bleeding in the overall study group. Same results were obtained in subgroup analyses focusing on patients who underwent percutaneous liver biopsy, transjugular liver biopsy, or on patients with cirrhosis. Pain 2 h after liver biopsy was more frequent in patients with liver biopsy-related bleeding (55% vs. 23% p = .002).
Conclusions: An extensive hemostasis workup, including global hemostasis assays, does not improve prediction of liver biopsy-related bleeding. Pain 2 h after liver biopsy should alert the clinician to the possibility of procedure-related bleeding.
Keywords: blood coagulation; diagnostic techniques and procedures; hemorrhage; liver cirrhosis; liver diseases.