Minimal hepatic encephalopathy has a negative effect on patients' daily functioning.
Thus far, no study has investigated the effect of treatment-related improvement in cognitive functions on health-related quality of life.
Dr Srinivasa Prasad and colleagues from India measured psychometric performance by the sickness Impact Profile of 90 patients with cirrhosis.
The team conducted the evaluations on inclusion into the study and 3 months later.
Psychometric performance was measured by number and figure connection tests, picture completion, and block design tests and health-related quality of life.
|68% of patients had minimal hepatic encephalopathy|
A z score less than -2 on the neuropsychological tests was considered abnormal.
The researchers found that 68% of patients had minimal hepatic encephalopathy.
The team randomly assigned 31 patients to receive lactulose treatment for 3 months or 30 to receive no treatment in a nonblinded design.
The researchers found that the mean number of abnormal neuropsychological tests decreased significantly in patients in the treated group.
The mean total sickness Impact Profile score improved among patients in the treated group.
The team observed that improvement in health-related quality of life was related to the improvement in psychometry.
Dr Prasad's team concluded, “Treatment with lactulose improves both cognitive function and health-related quality of life in patients with cirrhosis who have minimal hepatic encephalopathy.”