Kidney biopsy remains the gold standard for the diagnosis of most renal diseases. A major obstacle to performing a biopsy is safety concerns. However, many safety measures are not evidence based and therefore vary widely between centers. We sought to determine the rate and timing of kidney biopsy complications in our center, to compare the complication rate between native and transplant kidney biopsies, to evaluate the feasibility of performing kidney biopsies as an outpatient procedure and the value of a postbiopsy ultrasound before discharge, and to identify risk factors for complications.
We performed a single-center, retrospective, observational study at the Division of Nephrology of the University Hospital Zurich including all patients who underwent renal biopsy between January 2005 and December 2017. Major bleeding (primary outcome) and any other bleeding or nonbleeding complications (secondary outcomes) were compared between native and transplant kidney biopsies and between inpatient and outpatient procedures and correlated with clinical factors possibly affecting bleeding risk.
Overall, 2,239 biopsies were performed in 1,468 patients, 732 as inpatient and 1,507 as outpatient procedures. Major bleeding was observed in 28 (3.8%) inpatient and in 15 (1.0%) outpatient procedures, totaling to 43 (1.9%) of all biopsies. Major bleeding requiring intervention amounted to 1.0% (0.5% of outpatient procedures). Rate of major bleeding was similar between native and transplant kidneys. 13/15 (87%) bleeding episodes in planned outpatient procedures were detected during the 4-h surveillance period. Risk factors for bleeding were aspirin use, low eGFR, anemia, cirrhosis, and amyloidosis. Routine postbiopsy ultrasound did not change management.
Kidney biopsy is an overall safe procedure and can be performed as an outpatient procedure in most patients with an observation period as short as 4 h. The value of routine postbiopsy ultrasound is questionable.

© 2021 The Author(s). Published by S. Karger AG, Basel.