Background: The safety and adequacy are established for the native percutaneous renal biopsy (PRB) but no prospective studies exist that directly compare these with transplant PRB.
Methods: From 1995 to 2015, 1705 adults underwent percutaneous native [native renal biopsy (NRB)] or transplant renal biopsy (TRB) by the Nephrology service. Real-time ultrasound and automated biopsy needles (NRB, 14 or 16 gauge; TRB, 16 gauge) were used. Patients were observed for 24 h (NRB) or 8 h (TRB) post-procedure. Adequacy was defined as tissue required for diagnosis plus glomerular yield. Complications were defined as those resulting in the need for an intervention, such as surgery, interventional radiologic procedure, readmission, blood transfusion and death. Data were collected prospectively in all biopsies.
Results: At the time of biopsy, NRB patients were younger (mean ± SD, 47 ± 17 versus 50 ± 14 years, P < 0.0001) and more often female (62 versus 48%, P < 0.0001) compared with TRB. A fellow supervised by an attending performed the procedure in 91% of NRB compared with 63% of TRB (P < 0.0001). TRB patients were more hypertensive [systolic blood pressure (SBP) 140 ± 22 versus 133 ± 18 mmHg, P < 0.0001] and had a higher serum creatinine (3.1 ± 1.8 versus 2.3 ± 2.2 mg/dL, P < 0.0001), activated partial thromboplastin time (28 ± 4.3 versus 27 ± 5 s, P < 0.0001) as well as lower hemoglobin (Hgb) (11.2 ± 1.8 versus 11.7 ± 2.1 g/dL, P < 0.0001) compared with NRB. Adequate tissue for diagnosis was obtained in > 99% of NRB and TRB (P = 0.71). Compared with TRB, NRB had a greater drop in Hgb after the biopsy (0.97 ± 1.1 versus 0.73 ± 1.3 g/dL, P < 0.0001), a higher complication rate (6.5 versus 3.9%, P = 0.02) and higher transfusion rate (5.2 versus 3.3%, P = 0.045). There was one death in each group attributed to the biopsy.
Conclusions: Although death is equally rare, the complication rate is higher in NRB compared with TRB despite TRB having more of the traditional risk factors for bleeding. Differences in technique, operator (fellow or attending) or needle gauge may explain this variability.
Keywords: bleeding; complication; kidney biopsy; kidney transplantation.