Published online May 15, 2014. doi: 10.4291/wjgp.v5.i2.114
Revised: December 20, 2013
Accepted: January 17, 2014
Published online: May 15, 2014
AIM: To analyze the safety and the adequacy of a sample of liver biopsies (LB) obtained by gastroenterologist (G) and interventional radiologist (IR) teams.
METHODS: Medical records of consecutive patients evaluated at our GI unit from 01/01/2004 to 31/12/2010 for whom LB was considered necessary to diagnose and/or stage liver disease, both in the setting of day hospital and regular admission (RA) care, were retrieved and the data entered in a database. Patients were divided into two groups: one undergoing an ultrasonography (US)-assisted procedure by the G team and one undergoing US-guided biopsy by the IR team. For the first group, an intercostal approach (US-assisted) and a Menghini modified type needle 16 G (length 90 mm) were used. The IR team used a subcostal approach (US-guided) and a semiautomatic modified Menghini type needle 18 G (length 150 mm). All the biopsies were evaluated for appropriateness according to the current guidelines. The number of portal tracts present in each biopsy was assessed by a revision performed by a single pathologist unaware of the previous pathology report. Clinical, laboratory and demographic patient characteristics, the adverse events rate and the diagnostic adequacy of LB were analyzed.
RESULTS: During the study period, 226 patients, 126 males (56%) and 100 females (44%), underwent LB: 167 (74%) were carried out by the G team, whereas 59 (26%) by the IR team. LB was mostly performed in a day hospital setting by the G team, while IR completed more procedures on inpatients (P < 0.0001). The groups did not differ in median age, body mass index (BMI), presence of comorbidities and coagulation parameters. Complications occurred in 26 patients (16 G team vs 10 IR team, P = 0.15). Most gross samples obtained were considered suitable for basal histological evaluation, with no difference among the two teams (96.4% G team vs 91.5% IR, P = 0.16). However, the samples obtained by the G team had a higher mean number of portal tracts (G team 9.5 ± 4.8; range 1-29 vs IR team 7.8 ± 4.1; range 1-20) (P = 0.0192) and a longer mean length (G team 22 mm ± 8.8 vs IR team 15 ± 6.5 mm) (P = 0.0001).
CONCLUSION: LB can be performed with similar outcomes both by G and IR. Use of larger dimension needles allows obtaining better samples, with a similar rate of adverse events.
Core tip: Gastroenterologists and interventional radiologists are equally proficient in performing liver biopsy, both in a day hospital and regular admission setting, even with different techniques used (ultrasound-guided and ultrasound-assisted). However, a biopsy performed with larger needles provides better samples for histopathological evaluation, with no increase of morbidity or mortality rates compared to those obtained using needles of smaller size.