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Keywords:

  • Neuropsychologic Deficits;
  • Hepatic Encephalopathy;
  • Alcoholic Cirrhosis;
  • Liver Transplantation

Cognitive functioning in alcoholic cirrhotics before and 1 year following orthotopic liver transplantation was compared with age- and sex-matched normal subjects. The alcoholic group improved significantly following transplantation on tests measuring psychomotor, visuo-practic and abstracting abilities whereas the performance of normal controls remained virtually unchanged. In contrast, memory capacity in alcoholics with cirrhosis did not statistically improve following successful transplantation. Further investigation, using more sophisticated measures of memory function, are required to determine whether memory deficits are either associated with alcohol neuro-toxicity or an irreversible component of hepatic encephalopathy. These findings suggest that a reversible hepatic encephalopathy underlies many of the neuropsychologic deficits observed in cirrhotic alcoholics and can be ameliorated following successful liver transplantation.