A Multicenter Study of Needle Size and Safety for Splenic Biopsy

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Background: Splenic biopsy is rarely performed because of the perceived risk of hemorrhagic complications.

Purpose: To evaluate the safety of large bore (≥18 gauge) image-guided splenic biopsy.

Materials and Methods: This retrospective study included consecutive adult patients who underwent US- or CT-guided splenic biopsy between March 2001 and March 2022 at eight academic institutions in the United States. Biopsies were performed with needles that were 18 gauge or larger, with a comparison group of biopsies with needles smaller than 18 gauge. The primary outcome was significant bleeding after the procedure, defined by the presence of bleeding at CT performed within 30 days or angiography and/or surgery performed to manage the bleeding. Categorical variables were compared using the χ(2) test and medians were compared using the Mann-Whitney test.

Results: A total of 239 patients (median age, 63 years; IQR, 50-71 years; 116 of 239 [48.5%] female patients) underwent splenic biopsy with an 18-gauge or smaller needle and 139 patients (median age, 58 years [IQR, 49-69 years]; 66 of 139 [47.5%] female patients) underwent biopsy with a needle larger than 18 gauge. Bleeding was detected in 20 of 239 (8.4%) patients in the 18-gauge or smaller group and 11 of 139 (7.9%) in the larger than 18-gauge group. Bleeding was treated in five of 239 (2.1%) patients in the 18-gauge or smaller group and one of 139 (1%) in the larger than 18-gauge group. No deaths related to the biopsy procedure were recorded during the study period. Patients with bleeding after biopsy had smaller lesions compared with patients without bleeding (median, 2.1 cm [IQR, 1.6-5.4 cm] vs 3.5 cm [IQR, 2-6.8 cm], respectively; P = .03). Patients with a history of lymphoma or leukemia showed a lower incidence of bleeding than patients without this history (three of 90 [3%] vs 28 of 288 [9.7%], respectively; P = .05).

Conclusion: Bleeding after splenic biopsy with a needle 18 gauge or larger was similar to biopsy with a needle smaller than 18 gauge and seen in 8% of procedures overall, with 2% overall requiring treatment. © RSNA, 2024 Supplemental material is available for this article. See also the editorial by Grant in this issue.

Medical Subject Headings

Female; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Angiography; Image-Guided Biopsy; Needles; Retrospective Studies; Spleen; Aged

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