Prospective evaluation of the impact of covert hepatic encephalopathy on quality of life and sleep in cirrhotic patients

C. Labenz, J. S. Baron, G. Toenges, J. M. Schattenberg, M. Nagel, M. F. Sprinzl, M. Nguyen-Tat, T. Zimmermann, Y. Huber, J. U. Marquardt, P. R. Galle, M. A. Wörns*

*Corresponding author for this work
30 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Minimal hepatic encephalopathy (HE) and HE grade 1 (HE1) according to the West Haven criteria have recently been grouped as one entity named—covert HE- (CHE). Data regarding the impact of CHE on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and sleep quality are controversial. Aim: First, to determine whether CHE affects HRQoL and sleep quality of cirrhotic patients and second, whether minimal HE (MHE) and HE1 affect HRQoL and sleep quality to a comparable extent. Methods: A total of 145 consecutive cirrhotic patients were enrolled. HE1 was diagnosed clinically according to the West Haven criteria. Critical flicker frequency and the Psychometric Hepatic Encephalopathy Score were used to detect MHE. Chronic Liver Disease Questionnaire (CLDQ) was used to assess HRQoL and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) was applied to assess sleep quality. Results: Covert HE was detected in 59 (40.7%) patients (MHE: n = 40; HE1: n = 19). Multivariate analysis identified CHE (P < 0.001) and female gender (P = 0.006) as independent predictors of reduced HRQoL (CLDQ total score). CHE (P = 0.021), low haemoglobin (P = 0.024) and female gender (P = 0.003) were identified as independent predictors of poor sleep quality (PSQI total score). Results of CLDQ and PSQI were comparable in patients with HE1 and MHE (CLDQ: 4.6 ± 0.9 vs 4.5 ± 1.2, P = 0.907; PSQI: 11.3 ± 3.8 vs 9.9 ± 5.0, P = 0.3). Conclusion: Covert HE was associated with impaired HRQoL and sleep quality. MHE and HE1 affected both outcomes to a comparable extent supporting the use of CHE as a clinically useful term for patients with both entities of HE in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAlimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)313-321
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 08.2018


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