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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 14, Issue 10, Pages 901-902
Brief Communication

Blood Transfusion Requirements after Liver Biopsy

Brian D O’Brien

Division of General Internal Medicine, Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Received 25 June 1999; Revised 22 October 1999

Copyright © 2000 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


It is common practice to type and screen the blood before performing a percutaneous liver biopsy. Many practitioners think that this is unnecessary but do not have a reason to change their practice. The requirements for transfusion after biopsy were determined in a consecutive sample of cases at a tertiary care teaching hospital with the use of health record review and the anecdotal recall of gastroenterologists and others performing biopsies. One of 266 liver biopsies required a transfusion after biopsy over a two-year period. One other case of hemorrhage with a fatal outcome was recalled by several individuals. It is concluded that the incidence of significant hemorrhage after liver biopsy is low, and that it may not be necessary to type and screen the blood of low risk patients before biopsy.