Background/aims: This report examines complication rates associated with liver biopsies performed under ultrasound guidance.
Material and methods: Following the introduction of a policy of performing all liver biopsies under ultrasound guidance in the radiology department, 168 such procedures were reviewed.
Results: The post biopsy bleeding rate 4.2% was high compared to published national figures, which varied widely.
Conclusion: Our audit did not necessarily support the argument that ultrasound guidance leads to safer liver biopsy, but did support the need for randomized controlled trials of blind and guided liver biopsy to compare safety. The clinical impression gained from the audit was that the change in policy has reduced mortality associated with liver biopsy at this hospital and in the absence of further evidence, the present policy will continue. A further issue raised by the audit was the appropriateness of liver biopsy in terminally ill patients.