Advances in cirrhosis: Optimizing the management of hepatic encephalopathy. World journal of hepatology Liu, A., Perumpail, R. B., Kumari, R., Younossi, Z. M., Wong, R. J., Ahmed, A. 2015; 7 (29): 2871-2879


Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is a major complication of cirrhosis resulting in significant socioeconomic burden, morbidity, and mortality. HE can be further subdivided into covert HE (CHE) and overt HE (OHE). CHE is a subclinical, less severe manifestation of HE and requires psychometric testing for diagnosis. Due to the time consuming screening process and lack of standardized diagnostic criteria, CHE is frequently underdiagnosed despite its recognized role as a precursor to OHE. Screening for CHE with the availability of the Stroop test has provided a pragmatic method to promptly diagnose CHE. Management of acute OHE involves institution of lactulose, the preferred first-line therapy. In addition, prompt recognition and treatment of precipitating factors is critical as it may result in complete resolution of acute episodes of OHE. Treatment goals include improvement of daily functioning, evaluation for liver transplantation, and prevention of OHE recurrence. For secondary prophylaxis, intolerance to indefinite lactulose therapy may lead to non-adherence and has been identified as a precipitating factor for recurrent OHE. Rifaximin is an effective add-on therapy to lactulose for treatment and prevention of recurrent OHE. Recent studies have demonstrated comparable efficacy of probiotic therapy to lactulose use in both primary prophylaxis and secondary prophylaxis.

View details for DOI 10.4254/wjh.v7.i29.2871

View details for PubMedID 26692331

View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4678373