Transient elastography (TE) of liver and hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) allows accurate prediction of cirrhosis and its complications in patients with chronic liver disease. There is no study on prediction of minimal hepatic encephalopathy (MHE) using TE and HVPG in patients with cirrhosis.
Consecutive cirrhotic patients who never had an episode of hepatic encephalopathy (HE) were enrolled. All patients were assessed by psychometry (number connection test (NCT-A and B), digit symbol test (DST), serial dot test (SDT), line tracing test (LTT)), critical flicker frequency test (CFF), TE by FibroScan and HVPG. MHE was diagnosed if there were two or more abnormal psychometry tests (± 2 SD controls).
150 patients with cirrhosis who underwent HVPG were screened; 91 patients (61%, age 44.0 ± 11.4 years, M:F:75:16, Child's A:B:C 18:54:19) met the inclusion criteria. Fifty three (58%) patients had MHE (Child A (7/18, 39%), Child B (32/54, 59%) and Child C (14/19, 74%)). There was no significant difference between alanine aminotranferease (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and total bilirubin level in patients with MHE versus non MHE. Patients with MHE had significantly lower CFF than non MHE patients (38.4 ± 3.0 vs. 40.2 ± 2.2 Hz, P = 0.002). TE and HVPG in patients with MHE did not significantly differ from patients with no MHE (30.9 ± 17.2 vs. 29.8 ± 18.2 KPas, P = 0.78; and 13.6 ± 2.7 vs. 13.6 ± 3.2 mmHg, P = 0.90, respectively).There was significant correlation of TE with Child's score (0.25, P = 0.01), MELD (0.40, P = 0.001) and HVPG (0.72, P = 0.001) while no correlation with psychometric tests, CFF and MHE.
TE by FibroScan and HVPG cannot predict minimal hepatic encephalopathy in patients with cirrhosis.