The well-established medical diagnostic and research aid of needle biopsy of the liver carries a very low mortality, but a somewhat higher major complication rate. In a comprehensive review of 20,016 cases, Zamcheck and Klausenstock7 found an over-all mortality rate of 0.194%. Others2, 5,6 have reported similar statistics. The chief causes of death have been hemorrhage and bile peritonitis, the hemorrhage being much more frequent. Bile peritonitis has occurred as a result of perforation of a distended bile radicle in obstructive jaundice or as a result of perforation of the gallbladder. The former can be avoided by refraining from the biopsy in the presence of extrahepatic obstructive jaundice.
We have been able to find only 5 cases of perforation of the gallbladder in the world literature. One of these resulted in bile peritonitis and was seen at laparotomy.6 Another was shown at autopsy,2 while a third
MADDEN RE. Complications of Needle Biopsy of the Liver: Perforation of the Gallbladder and Other Complications. Arch Surg. 1961;83(5):778–781. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/archsurg.1961.01300170134027
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