Safety and predictors of complications of renal biopsy in the outpatient setting

Clin Nephrol. 2011 Dec;76(6):464-9. doi: 10.5414/cn107128.


Aim: It has been recommended that patients should be admitted for 24 h of observation after percutaneous renal biopsy. This may be performed in the ambulatory outpatient setting, though its safety in this setting is an area of debate. We aim to demonstrate the safety of biopsy in the ambulatory outpatient setting.

Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study of 475 biopsies performed in the ambulatory outpatient setting to examine safety and risk factors for complications. Transplant and native kidney biopsies performed at the Canberra Hospital, a tertiary referral university hospital, from 2006 until 2010 were included. Patients were observed for 6 h before discharge. Study outcomes were minor complications, defined as pain, hemorrhage or postural hypotension; or major complications, defined as complications requiring therapeutic intervention including blood product transfusion.

Results: The overall complication rate was 8.2%. There were 33 minor complications (6.9%) and 6 major complications (1.3%). All complications occurring outside the period of observation were safely managed. Significant predictors of any complication was hemoglobin (OR 1.03, 95% CI 1.01 - 1.06), kidney size (OR 0.93, 95% CI 0.89 - 0.98), and proceduralist.

Conclusions: Percutaneous renal biopsy is safe in the ambulatory outpatient setting. Establishing ongoing quality assurance programs may be helpful in early identification of operator-dependent factors.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Kidney / pathology*
  • Male
  • Organ Size
  • Outpatients
  • Patient Safety
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Hemoglobins