Variation between centers in technique and guidelines for liver biopsy

Michael Sue, Stephen H. Caldwell, Rolland C. Dickson, Chona Macalindong, R. Michael Rourk, Clarence Charles, Ramsundar Doobay, Sean L. Cambridge, A. Sidney Barritt, Richard W. McCallum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Hospitals have few published guidelines to follow when performing a liver biopsy. In 1992, we began revising our protocol in an effort to institute new guidelines for our teaching hospitals. To assess the current practice of liver biopsy, we sent 500 multilingual questionnaires to international academic centers, and 85 U.S. centers were surveyed by telephone. The survey assessed: 1) patient preparation, 2) technical aspects of the biopsy, and 3) post-procedural care. One hundred and eighty international centers and 85 U.S. centers responded (total = 265). We found a wide variation in the practice of this surgical procedure at both national and international centers. Many Asian centers (73%) pet-formed a bleeding time prior to liver biopsy. This practice was seen in only 36% of the U.S. centers. Most centers preferred platelet counts of 50,000/mm3 and above. The aspiration needle was more widely used in the U.S. (74%) and in many international centers, but Asian centers (61%) preferred a cutting needle. Thirty percent of Japanese centers performed more than 50% of their liver biopsies laparoscopically. Few laparoscopies were done at other centers. While about a quarter of the reported U.S., European, Asian, and South American centers observed patients for 4-6 hours after a biopsy, the majority of centers observed patients 10 hours or more. In addition to the wide variation seen, this survey provided us with an academic view of the contemporary practice of liver biopsy and an insight into how to redefine our present guidelines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-270
Number of pages4
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1996


  • Liver biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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