Part of the book: Liver Biopsy
Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is brain dysfunction caused by both acute and chronic liver diseases that produces a spectrum of neuropsychiatric symptoms in the absence of other known brain diseases. Minimal hepatic encephalopathy (MHE) is the mildest form of this spectrum. MHE is defined as HE without symptoms on clinical or neurological examination, but with deficits in the performance of psychometric tests, working memory, psychomotor speed, and visuospatial ability. Minimal hepatic encephalopathy is associated with impaired driving skills and increased risk of motor vehicle accidents and has been associated with increased hospitalizations and death. Despite its clinical importance, a large number of clinicians had never investigated whether their cirrhotic patients might have MHE. Although, there is no single gold standard test for diagnosis of MHE, a combination of two neuropsychological tests or psychometric hepatic encephalopathy score battery test and/or neurophysiological test is standard for diagnosis of MHE. It was found that, treatment for MHE improves neuropsychiatric performance and quality of life and decreases the risk of developing overt HE (OHE). The agents used to treat OHE have been tested in patients with MHE. In particular, lactulose, rifaximin, probiotics and l-ornithine and l-aspartate (LOLA) have all been shown to be beneficial, with documented improvement in psychometric performance after treatment.
Part of the book: Liver Disease and Surgery