Arjun Ravishankar, MBBS1, David Wan, MD2; 1Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY; 2Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University, New York, NY
Introduction: Percutaneous liver biopsies are commonly performed procedures in the diagnostic workup or staging of liver diseases, and bleeding is the most important complication. Hemobilia is defined as bleeding into the biliary tree, and is a rare complication of liver biopsy that classically presents with a triad of GI bleeding, abdominal pain, and jaundice.
Methods: A 44-year-old male underwent an uneventful liver biopsy for workup of hepatic steatosis. The next day he presented to the ER with RUQ abdominal pain and jaundice. Vital signs were normal and physical examination revealed scleral icterus and epigastric tenderness. Liver function tests showed AST and ALT of 2248 U/L and 2915 U/L, respectively, alkaline phosphatase of 200 U/L, and total bilirubin of 23.3 mg/dL with direct bilirubin of 13.9 mg/dL. CT scan revealed small hemoperitoneum and diffuse hepatic steatosis. Ultrasound with doppler showed normal biliary and intrahepatic ducts and patent portal and hepatic veins with normal blood flow. On the fourth hospital day, MRCP revealed moderate right intrahepatic biliary ductal dilatation with associated hemobilia to the level of the biliary confluence (Fig. 1). MRI with contrast revealed completely thrombosed right portal vein and branches, and persistent right intrahepatic biliary ductal dilatation (Fig. 2). Oral anticoagulation was considered; however, the gastroenterology team felt the liver biopsy caused an iatrogenic portobiliary fistula, leading to the formation of the portal vein thrombus which may have helped seal the fistula. Therefore, the decision was made to hold anticoagulation and discharge the patient. Liver function tests one month later revealed AST and ALT of 20 U/L and 70 U/L respectively. Repeat MRI showed a reduction of right intrahepatic biliary dilation, and chronic right portal vein thrombus with recanalization and mild cavernous transformation. (Fig. 3) Discussion: Given the biliary dilation on MRCP, we suspect that a blood clot at the biliary confluence caused an obstruction leading to acute severe rise in AST, ALT and direct hyperbilirubinemia. Due to the risk of further bleeding and possible tamponade effect of clot, anticoagulating the patient may have worsened the situation. Portobiliary fistulas leading to hemobilia are a rare complication of percutaneous liver biopsy. While GI bleeding, jaundice, or abdominal pain post-biopsy should prompt a diagnostic workup, it should also be kept in mind that there could be uncommon presentations of hemobilia.
MRCP showing moderate right intrahepatic biliary ductal dilatation with associated hemobilia
Contrast enhanced MRI showing thrombosed right portal vein and branches, and right intrahepatic biliary ductal dilatation
Follow-up MRI showing reduction of right intrahepatic biliary dilation, and chronic right portal vein thrombus
Disclosures: Arjun Ravishankar indicated no relevant financial relationships. David Wan indicated no relevant financial relationships.