The Prognostic Significance of Subclinical Hepatic Encephalopathy

Hartmann, Ieneke J. C.; Groeneweg, Michael; Quero, Juan C.; Beijeman, Sylvia J.; De Man, Robert A.; Hop, Wim C. J.; Schalm, Solko W.
August 2000
American Journal of Gastroenterology;Aug2000, Vol. 95 Issue 8, p2029
Academic Journal
OBJECTIVE: Subclinical hepatic encephalopathy may have prognostic significance with regard to the development of clinical hepatic encephalopathy and survival. METHODS: We studied 116 consecutive patients with histologically proven cirrhosis of the liver for subclinical hepatic encephalopathy, using Number Connection Test A, Digit Symbol Test, and spectral analysis of the electroencephalogram. RESULTS: Twenty-five patients (22%) were diagnosed as having subclinical hepatic encephalopathy. Patients with subclinical hepatic encephalopathy were older, had a higher Child-Pugh score, and more often had esophageal or gastric varices and episode(s) of clinical hepatic encephalopathy in their history. During a median follow-up of 29 months (range, 1-49 months), patients with subclinical hepatic encephalopathy significantly more often had episodes of clinical hepatic encephalopathy; survival, however, was similar to that of patients without subclinical hepatic encephalopathy, and was determined mainly by the Child-Pugh score. The Child-Pugh score was also superior to subclinical hepatic encephalopathy in predicting episodes of clinical hepatic encephalopathy. CONCLUSIONS: The prognostic significance of subclinical hepatic encephalopathy appears limited.


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