The use of laparoscopic liver biopsies in pediatric patients with hepatic dysfunction following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation

Document Type



Paediatric Surgery


Hepatic dysfunction following hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is common, but making the correct diagnosis can be challenging. Liver biopsies can serve as an important diagnostic tool when the etiology cannot be clearly determined by laboratory data, physical examination, and imaging studies. We reviewed 12 consecutive pediatric patients (seven males, five females, age 9-23 years) who received allogeneic HSCT and underwent a laparoscopic-guided liver biopsy for hepatic dysfunction of unknown etiology from 1998 to 2005. Biopsies were performed using a single-port technique with a 16 or 18 gauge, spring-loaded biopsy gun. The time from HSCT to biopsy ranged from 31 days to 821 days (median 92 days). No intra- or postoperative complications were observed. The initial clinical diagnosis was confirmed in seven patients, whereas the initial working diagnosis was inaccurate in the remaining five patients. Our results suggest that laparoscopic-guided liver biopsy is an informative and safe procedure in pediatric HSCT recipients; this approach helped delineate the true cause of hepatic dysfunction and changed our therapeutic approach in approximately 40% of the patients reviewed. While the safety record at our institution appears promising, a larger multi-institutional study would be necessary to more accurately describe the overall efficacy of this procedure in pediatric HSCT patients.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Bone Marrow Transplantation