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Keywords:

  • assessment;
  • encephalopathy;
  • hepatic;
  • neuropsychological;
  • outcome;
  • psychometric

Abstract

Low-grade or minimal hepatic encephalopathy (MHE) is characterised by relatively mild neurocognitive impairments, and occurs in a substantial percentage of patients with liver disease. The presence of MHE is associated with a significant compromise of quality of life, is predictive of the onset of overt hepatic encephalopathy and is associated with a poorer prognosis for outcome. Early identification and treatment of MHE can improve quality of life and may prevent the onset of overt encephalopathy, but to date, there has been little agreement regarding the optimum method for detecting MHE. The International Society on Hepatic Encephalopathy and Nitrogen Metabolism convened a group of experts for the purpose of reviewing available data and making recommendations for a standardised approach for neuropsychological assessment of patients with liver disease who are at risk of MHE. Specific recommendations are presented, along with a proposed methodology for further refining these assessment procedures through prospective research.