Outcome Prediction of Covert Hepatic Encephalopathy in Liver Cirrhosis: Comparison of Four Testing Strategies

Christian Labenz, Gerrit Toenges, Jörn M. Schattenberg, Michael Nagel, Yvonne Huber, Jens U. Marquardt, Joachim Labenz, Peter R. Galle, Marcus Alexander Wörns


INTRODUCTION: Despite the negative impact of covert hepatic encephalopathy on the outcome of patients with liver cirrhosis, data regarding the ability of different testing strategies to predict overt hepatic encephalopathy (OHE) development and mortality are limited. This study aimed to compare the ability of Psychometric Hepatic Encephalopathy Score (PHES), critical flicker frequency (CFF), simplified animal naming test (S-ANT1), and clinical covert hepatic encephalopathy (CCHE) score to predict OHE development and mortality. METHODS: A total of 224 patients with liver cirrhosis were tested with different testing strategies and prospectively followed up regarding clinically relevant outcomes (OHE or death/liver transplantation). RESULTS: Prevalence of pathological results varied among the testing strategies: PHES 33.9%, CFF 17.9%, S-ANT1 41.5%, and CCHE score 33.9%. All testing strategies were independent predictors of OHE development after adjusting for model of end-stage liver disease (MELD) score and history of OHE. The predictive performances of PHES (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, 0.742) and CCHE (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, 0.785) regarding OHE development during the next 180 days were significantly better than those of CFF and S-ANT1. In multivariable analysis, pathological results in PHES, S-ANT1, and CCHE score were independently associated with higher mortality. CFF did not correlate with mortality in the whole cohort. In the subgroup of patients with a MELD score <15, pathological results in PHES, CFF, or CCHE score were independent predictors of higher mortality. DISCUSSION: PHES and CCHE score predict OHE development and mortality in patients with liver cirrhosis. In particular, in patients with low MELD score, both testing strategies could help to identify patients who might benefit from liver transplantation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical and translational gastroenterology
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)e00172
Publication statusPublished - 01.06.2020


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