The latest research & treatment news about Hepatitis C infection, diagnosis, symptoms and treatment.

Presse Med 1997 Mar 1;26(6):260-261

Hepatic puncture biopsy in ambulatory care. Advantages and disadvantages.

[Article in French]
Nouel O

There is a clear trend towards favoring outpatient care in an attempt to control health care costs. Despite widespread acceptance in some countries, many teams in France still prefer to hospitalize patients requiring percutaneous liver biopsy because the outpatient setting has not been encouraged in French text books on hepatology, many gastroenterologists do not have access to outpatient facilities, and the lack of French references which has raised questions as to the legal responsibilities involved. The series of 231 outpatient percutaneous liver biopsies reported by Bourgaux in this issue of La Presse Medicale will remove the doubt in many minds. There are many advantages for the generally young population with early stage liver disease, frequently Hepatitis C, requiring percutaneous liver biopsy. Lower cost is probably the primary advantage, but improved patient comfort, especially if repeated procedures are needed, is also greatly appreciated. The outpatient procedure is safe when all the selection criteria are met including: normal coagulation, ultrasonographically homogeneous liver, patient compliance and availability of a structured outpatient clinic, and absence of a severe concomitent disease. These apparently restrictive criteria actually include the majority of the indications for liver biopsy. There is another debate on whether echo-guided biopsy would be even safer but as emphasized by Bourgaux et al. this would require a reorganization of most of the hepatogastroenterology departments. One other point cannot be overlooked. Some operators (and patients) may also feel that the impressive nature of the procedure merits a more impressive setting, i.e. full hospitalization. Consequently, while it is quite reasonable to propose outpatient liver biopsy as a classical procedure, there are situations when personal preference may still dictate hospitalization.

PMID: 9122121, UI: 97252887