Type and etiology of liver cirrhosis are not related to the presence of hepatic encephalopathy or health-related quality of life: a cross-sectional study.BMC Gastroenterol 2008; 8:46BG
Hepatic encephalopathy has a negative impact on health-related quality of life (QoL) in liver cirrhosis. There are scarce and conflicting data on whether type or etiology of liver cirrhosis could be related to hepatic encephalopathy in patients with cirrhosis. We aimed to determine the impact of cirrhosis etiology on hepatic encephalopathy and whether hepatic encephalopathy affects health-related QoL among patients with cirrhosis of different etiologies.
A total of 156 cirrhotic patients were prospectively evaluated for the presence of hepatic encephalopathy according to the West-Haven criteria as well as by means of two psychometric tests. Patients with cryptogenic cirrhosis or cirrhosis due to mixed hepatocellular/cholestatic etiologies were excluded. Fasting plasma glucose levels were also measured. QoL was evaluated by means of a validated questionnaire (SF-36).
Diabetes mellitus was more common in patients with hepatocellular cirrhosis compared to those with cholestatic cirrhosis but the two groups did not differ in cirrhosis severity or the prevalence of hepatic encephalopathy (p > 0.05). The groups of patients with cirrhosis due to alcohol, hepatitis C, or cholestatic liver disease did not differ in severity of liver cirrhosis or the prevalence of hepatic encephalopathy (p > 0.05). Patients with cirrhosis of different etiologies did not differ in any SF-36 domain (p > 0.05). In multivariate analysis, performance at neuropsychological testing was independently related only to age, diabetes mellitus, and the Child-Pugh score whereas the SF-36 physical component summary only to the Child-Pugh score and hepatic encephalopathy.
Cirrhosis etiology does not seem to be related to hepatic encephalopathy or health-related QoL. Cognitive impairment is associated mainly with age, liver disease severity and diabetes mellitus.