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Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 1992 Oct;7(5):419-29.

Subclinical hepatic encephalopathy: relationship between neuropsychological deficits and standard laboratory tests assessing hepatic status.

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Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic; Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA 15213 USA.


A multivariate analysis of the relationship between biochemical measures of hepatic function and neuropsychological assessments of specific cognitive domains was performed on data obtained from 74 patients with chronic liver disease and subclinical hepatic encephalopathy. Biochemical tests of hepatic protein synthesis correlated significantly with measures of impaired language efficiency, perceptual speed, and psychomotor efficiency. Biochemical indices of impaired processing of nitrogenous compounds correlated with visuopractic deficits. Hepatic blood flow indices correlated with language inefficiency. Interestingly, biochemical measures of hepatic injury did not demonstrate a significant association with any neuropsychological parameter assessed. These results suggest that subclinical hepatic encephalopathy is the consequence of a multifactorial hepatic dysfunction, and that acute hepatic injury, as assessed by elevation of aminotransferases, does not appear to be involved in the pathogenesis of subclinical hepatic encephalopathy.

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