Feb 2, 2002
My Dr. a hepatologist recommended a liver biopsy after 7 months of elevated liver enzymes with peak ALT 189 and AST 72 in Nov which are in end of Jan ALT 72 AST 44. All PCR HEP B AND C and HEP B surface antigen negative. I am not overweight nor a drinker. I did have one promiscous experience in JUNe but not full sex. Could this incident have caused the high liver enzymes. Also how risky is a biopsy (is this a low risk procedure - what complications can occur and how likely are they.
Response from Dr. Fried
A liver biopsy is indicated in many circumstances when liver enzymes remain chronically abnormal, usually greater than 6 months. The liver biopsy is generally a safe procedure, although like any procedure, there are definite risks. Among them is the risk of perforation of an organ such as gallbladder, kidney, lung and intestine; causing internal bleeding, and there is a small risk of death. Nevertheless, a biopsy is a routine procedure for hepatologists so that the risks are minimal. Almost all my patients admit that the anxiety thinking about a biopsy is worse than the actual procedure. You should have a discussion with your doctor about the benefits of the liver biopsy and both of you together can weigh this against the small risks, before having the procedure.
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