ABSTRACT: Prior to the introduction of virally inactivated clotting factor concentrates, the majority of individuals with congenital bleeding disorders became infected with the hepatitis C virus. Although liver biopsy is valuable in prognosis and guiding antiviral therapy, there is a reluctance to perform biopsies in this population because of the risk of hemorrhage. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety of transjugular liver biopsy, and the usefulness of evaluating liver histology in this patient population. Liver histopathology was assessed by the METAVIR index and compared with corrected sinusoidal pressures, platelet counts, and abdominal ultrasonography. Liver biopsy was performed at seven Canadian centers in 65 patients with hemophilia or von Willebrand's disease. Biopsies were done on an outpatient basis, followed by a 4-hr observation period in hospital. Normal hemostasis was maintained during the peribiopsy period, with follow-up doses of factor concentrate self administered by the patient at home. One patient (1.4%) had significant bleeding leading to readmission and red cell transfusion. Liver histology showed 14 patients (22%) had cirrhosis. Ten patients had elevated corrected sinusoidal pressures; 7 of these (70%) had cirrhosis on biopsy, and the other 3 (30%) likely had cirrhosis although histology showed stage 3 fibrosis. This series represents the largest reported experience of transjugular biopsy in individuals with congenital bleeding disorders. We conclude that this procedure can be safely performed on an outpatient basis. The diagnosis of cirrhosis and/or portal hypertension was made in a substantial proportion of individuals (26%), all of whom had asymptomatic liver disease.
American Journal of Hematology 03/2005; 78(2):85-93. · 4.67 Impact Factor