Bacteremia occurred during the six-hour period following consecutive liver biopsies. Blood was obtained immediately prior to, 15 minutes after, and two, four, and six hours after biopsy. A multiple culture system using liquid and solid media under aerobic and anaerobic conditions was used.
Observed incidence of bacteremia was 5.8% (4 of 69). Corrected incidence of asymptomatic gram-negative bacteremia was 2.9% (2 of 69). All liver biopsy cultures from bacteremic patients were sterile. We recommend obtaining blood cultures before liver biopsy if there is a history compatible with biliary or gastrointestinal tract infection. Shock, confusion, fever, or hypothermia occurring after liver biopsy may represent bacteremia rather than hemorrhage or sterile biliary peritonitis.