Bleeding Complications After Percutaneous Native Kidney Biopsy: Results From the Boston Kidney Biopsy Cohort

Kidney Int Rep. 2020 Mar 4;5(4):511-518. doi: 10.1016/j.ekir.2020.01.012. eCollection 2020 Apr.


Background: The major risk of kidney biopsy is severe bleeding. Numerous risk factors for bleeding after biopsy have been reported, but findings have been inconsistent.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed medical records of adult patients enrolled in a native kidney biopsy cohort study to identify major bleeding events (red blood cell [RBC] transfusions, invasive procedures, kidney loss, or death). We used logistic and linear regression models to identify characteristics associated with postbiopsy RBC transfusions and decline in hemoglobin within a week after the procedure.

Results: Major bleeding events occurred in 28 of 644 (4.3%) patients (28 required an RBC transfusion, 4 underwent angiographic intervention, and 1 had open surgery to control bleeding). No patient lost a kidney or died because of the biopsy. Postbiopsy RBC transfusion risk was driven by the baseline hemoglobin level (odds ratio [OR] 13.6; 95% confidence interval [CI] 5.4-34.1 for hemoglobin <10 vs. ≥10 g/dl). After adjusting for hemoglobin, no other patient characteristics were independently associated with RBC transfusions. Female sex (β = 0.18; 95% CI: 0.04-0.32), estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) <30 ml/min per 1.73 m2 (β = 0.32; 95% CI: 0.14-0.49), and baseline hemoglobin (β = 0.09; 95% CI: 0.05-0.13, per g/dl increase) were independently associated with a larger drop in hemoglobin. Histopathologic lesions were not independently associated with major bleeding after biopsy.

Conclusion: Biopsies were generally well tolerated. Baseline hemoglobin was the dominant risk factor for RBC transfusions, but female sex and eGFR <30 ml/min per 1.73 m2 were also associated with a larger decline in hemoglobin after the procedure.

Keywords: biopsy; bleeding; blood transfusions; kidney diseases; risk factors.