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Rapid identification system of frontal dysfunction in subclinical hepatic encephalopathy

Rita Moretti, Silvia Gazzin, Lory Saveria Crocè, Beatrice Baso, Flora Masutti, Giorgio Bedogni, Claudio Tiribelli


Introduction and aim. Liver disease is associated with cognitive dysfunction also at early stages, and minimal hepatic encephalopathy, affecting 20-70% of patients, is frequently under-recognized. The main purpose of this work was to demonstrate that a substantial number of patients, enrolled due to an acute confusional state in absence of a diagnosis of liver disease, suffers of hepatic encephalopathy. Material and methods. Before a diagnosis of a well-compensated liver diseases was performed, 410 patients with an acute confusional state were enrolled in this study. Results. Even in the presence of minimal alterations of hepatic function, the psychometric tests applied demonstrated early signs of cerebral frontal alteration. The alteration was associated with the severity of liver disease, paralleling the progression of the patient to minimal hepatic failure or chronic liver disease. Conclusions. These psychometric tests are essential to detect early and subclinical frontal failure. Frontal dysfunction may be a useful tool in the follow-up of these patients.

Key words. Liver disease, Apathy, Behaviour

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The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for the Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver

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