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Dig Dis Sci. 1981 Jul;26(7):622-30.

Latent portasystemic encephalopathy. I. Nature of cerebral functional defects and their effect on fitness to drive.


Forty patients with chronic liver disease and portal hypertension but without clinical signs of portasystemic encephalopathy (15 patients with nonalcoholic cirrhosis, 15 patients with alcoholic cirrhosis, and 10 patients with minimal EEG changes) and a control group of 12 patients with chronic alcohol pancreatitis were studied using an extensive psychometric program, which, in the same form, is used for expert reports on driving capacity. Of the cirrhotic patients, 60% were considered unfit to drive; in 25% driving capacity was questionable, 15% (only nonalcoholic cirrhotics) were considered fit to drive. In contrast 75% of the patients with alcoholic pancreatitis were considered fit to drive. Major defects were found only in three heavy alcoholics. Patients with alcoholic cirrhosis scored lower than patients with nonalcoholic cirrhosis. This was due to differences in liver function rather than to the effect of alcohol consumption. Patients with minimal EEG changes were practically all considered unfit to drive.

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