The timing and presentation of major hemorrhage after 18,947 image-guided percutaneous biopsies

Thomas D. Atwell, Jennifer C. Spanbauer, Brendan P. McMenomy, Andrew H. Stockland, Gina K. Hesley, Cathy D. Schleck, William S. Harmsen, Timothy J. Welch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. The objective of our study was to characterize the temporal and clinical manifestation of major bleeding events after biopsy to guide clinicians in the institution of appropriate surveillance. MATERIALS AND METHODS. We performed a retrospective review of percutaneous image-guided biopsies performed between September 1, 2005, and May 31, 2012, including 18,947 biopsy events. According to routine protocol, follow-up telephone calls were made to patients 24 hours after biopsy, and chart review was performed 3 months after biopsy. Bleeding complications were defined using the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE, version 4.0) established by the National Cancer Institute. In patients with a grade 3 or greater bleeding complication, a retrospective chart review was performed to characterize the details of the complication including the timing of the complication and the primary clinical presentation of the event. RESULTS. Grade 3 hemorrhage was associated with 64 of 18,947 (0.3%) procedures, and there were three deaths associated with the biopsy event (0.02% or ≈ 2/10,000). Hemorrhage was most commonly associated with biopsy of a native kidney (17/1407, 1.2%). Twenty patients (31%) presented with a bleeding complication within 1 hour of biopsy. Twenty-seven patients (42%) presented within 2 hours of biopsy. Fifty-two patients (81%) presented within 24 hours, and the remaining 12 patients (19%) presented more than 24 hours after biopsy. Pain was the most common presentation of patients with bleeding complications, occurring in 39 (61%) patients. CONCLUSION. The incidence of major bleeding after percutaneous biopsies is very low, but delayed complications occur more frequently than anticipated. Pain is the most common clinical presentation of major bleeding complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-195
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Biopsy
  • CT
  • Complication
  • Hemorrhage
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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