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Sonography-guided percutaneous liver biopsies in children.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of sonography-guided percutaneous core needle liver biopsy in infants and children.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis of all patients who underwent sonography-guided percutaneous core needle liver biopsies over a 7.5-year period by pediatric interventionalists at a single tertiary center.

RESULTS: A total of 597 procedures were performed in 470 patients (270 male and 200 female), with a mean age of 10.5 years (age range, 1 month-21 years). The main indications for biopsies were abnormal liver enzymes (n=129, 21.6%), grading and staging of chronic hepatitis B or C (n=105, 17.6%), evaluation of transplanted liver (n=111, 18.6%), iron overload (n=73, 12.2%), miscellaneous other diffuse parenchymal abnormalities (n=124, 20.7%), and focal hepatic lesions (n=55, 9.2%). The procedures were performed either under sedation (n=311, 52.1%) or general anesthesia (n=286, 47.9%). Diagnostic yield was obtained in 596 biopsies (99.8%) from an average of 2.4 cores in patients with diffuse disease (n=541, 90.6%) and 6.5 cores in patients with focal disease (n=55, 9.2%). Ten patients (1.7%) experienced a major complication, including pneumothorax (n=1, 0.2%), abdominal wall pseudoaneurysm (n=1, 0.2%), and symptomatic bleeding (n=8, 1.3%). Five of these children required transfusion, two were only admitted for observation, and one required surgical evacuation. There were no procedure-related deaths. Minor complications (n=49, 8.2%) included a symptomatic subcapsular hematoma (n=35) and stable small hemoperitoneum (n=9).

CONCLUSION: Sonography-guided percutaneous core liver biopsy is a safe and effective procedure in children that has a high diagnostic yield and very low complication rate.

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