Prediction of overt hepatic encephalopathy by the continuous reaction time method and the portosystemic encephalopathy syndrome test in clinically mentally unimpaired patients with cirrhosis

Autoři: Charlotte W. Wernberg aff001;  Ove B. Schaffalitzky de Muckadell aff002;  Hendrik Vilstrup aff003;  Mette M. Lauridsen aff001
Působiště autorů: Department of Gastroenterology, Hospital of Southwest Jutland, Esbjerg, Region of Southwest of Denmark, Denmark aff001;  Department for Medical Gastrointestinal Diseases, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Region of Southwest of Denmark, Denmark aff002;  Department of Hepatology and Gastroenterology, Aarhus University Hospital, Central Denmark Region, Denmark aff003
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(12)
Kategorie: Research Article


Background and aim

Predicting overt hepatic encephalopathy (OHE) is important because the condition is frequent, often requires hospitalization and is potentially preventable. The risk of OHE is related to pre-existing discrete cognitive defects, and for clinical practice it is recommended to apply two different psychometric tests to detect such deficits. We used the continuous reaction time test (CRT) and the portosystemic encephalopathy (PSE) syndrome test and examined their single and combined value for OHE prediction in cirrhosis patients.

Patients and methods

We studied 130 clinically mentally unimpaired cirrhosis patients by the two tests and followed them for an average of 38.5 months. The CRT measures velocity and stability of motor reaction times to 150 repeated auditory signals. The PSE is a five sub-set paper-and-pencil test battery evaluating cognitive and psychomotor processing, speed and vision-motor coordination. We collected data on episodes of OHE during follow-up. The clinical course was analysed in patient groups according to the outcome of each test and of both tests together. No anti-HE treatment was initiated except for cases with OHE.


At baseline, the CRT test was abnormal in 74 patients and the PSE in 47. During follow-up 35 patients (27%) experienced 74 OHE events. 23 patients with abnormal CRT experienced OHE (prediction sensitivity 65%). The PSE predicted OHE in 14 patients (prediction sensitivity 40%). One or both tests were abnormal in 87/130 (67%) and this predicted OHE in 27 patients (21%) (prediction sensitivity 77%).


The CRT test was clinically useful in identifying two-thirds of clinically mentally unimpaired cirrhosis patients who later experienced OHE, and the use of both the CRT and PSE showed satisfactory prediction by identifying three-fourths of later OHE cases.

Klíčová slova:

Alcohol consumption – Cirrhosis – Cognition – Cognitive impairment – Cognitive psychology – Denmark – Psychometrics – Reaction time


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2019 Číslo 12
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