Public Release:  Bleeding risk associated with image-guided biopsies is low

American College of Radiology

Even among patients who have taken aspirin in proximity to an image-guided percutaneous biopsy, risk of major bleeding associated with the procedure is low, according to a study in the March issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology (www.ajronline.org). Image-guided percutaneous biopsies are an important means of diagnosing disease in organs and other soft tissues. They involve the removal of cells or tissues for examination.

"With the evolution of imaging guidance, percutaneous biopsy has become a valuable tool in obtaining tissue for diagnosis," said Thomas D. Atwell, MD, lead author of the study. "Unfortunately, this procedure is not without risk, and hemorrhage is the most feared complication after biopsy," he said.

The study included a retrospective review of percutaneous biopsies performed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, over the course of six years. "Among the 15,181 percutaneous biopsies performed during the study period, only 70 hemorrhages (0.5 percent) were identified within three months of biopsy," said Atwell. "The incidence of bleeding in patients taking aspirin within 10 days before biopsy was 0.6 percent (18/3,195)," he said.

"Our study shows that the overall incidence of major bleeding after imaging-guided percutaneous needle biopsy is low, and recent aspirin therapy does not appear to significantly increase the risk of such bleeding complications," said Atwell.

"Significant bleeding after percutaneous biopsy is exceptionally rare. In most cases, percutaneous biopsy can be performed in patients with recent aspirin use. In those patients undergoing elective, nonurgent deep organ biopsy, scheduling the biopsy 10 days after the last dose of aspirin is a reasonable, but not a necessary, precaution," he said.

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This study appears in the March issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology. For a copy of the full study or to request an interview with Dr. Atwell, please contact Heather Curry via email at hcurry@acr-arrs.org or at 703-390-9822.

About ARRS

The American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS) was founded in 1900 and is the oldest radiology society in the United States. Its monthly journal, the American Journal of Roentgenology, began publication in 1906. Radiologists from all over the world attend the ARRS annual meeting to participate in instructional courses, scientific paper presentations and scientific and commercial exhibits related to the field of radiology. The Society is named after the first Nobel Laureate in Physics, Wilhelm Röentgen, who discovered the x-ray in 1895.

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