Study to assess the changing pattern of clinical profile and determine the prognosis in hepatic encephalopathy

Sarosh Kumar K. K., Sarin S. M., Balakrishnan Valliyot, Vinu Joy, Kadeeja Beevi, Sudha Balakrishnan


Background: Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is a common complication of liver disease that requires intensive care management. The prevalence of HE is increasing during recent period. The most important factors of HE are alcohol consumption, chronic hepatitis, hepatotoxic drugs and unhealthy changes in life style. There were only relatively few studies from our region on the changing profile of hepatic encephalopathy under the background of life style changes. This study was conducted with the aim to detect the changing pattern of clinical profile, precipitants and to assess the prognosis of patients with hepatic encephalopathy.

Methods: This was a prospective study for a period of 18 months since January 2012 at Academy of Medical Sciences, Pariyaram, Kannur, a tertiary care centre situated in the northern part of Kerala. Patients admitted in the medical and gastroenterology wards and intensive care units that fulfilled the inclusion criteria were enrolled in this study.

Results: Among the 76 patients with HE, 60 were suffering from CLD and 16 due to acute liver failure. The common etiologies for HE in CLD patients were Alcoholic cirrhosis (63%), Cryptogenic cirrhosis (17%) and cirrhosis due to chronic HBV (10%) and HCV hepatitis (7%) respectively. Among the CLD patients at the start of observation majority were in Child Pugh class B and C. Based on West Haven grading most of them had Grade 2 and 3 HE. Majority with Grade 1, 2 and 3 improved where as those with Grade 4 and Grade 3 in Child Pugh class C worsened. The common precipitants of HE were GI bleed, dyselectrolemia, constipation and infections. Among these precipitants a statistically significant association for a worse outcome was present only with infection. Leptospirosis and deliberate self-harm due to ingestion of hepatotoxic rodenticide and paracetamol were the leading cause of hepatic encephalopathy in acute liver failure

Conclusions: In present study HE was most commonly seen in patients with alcoholic liver disease. Cryptogenic cirrhosis associated with other life style diseases was the second common condition. Among all precipitating factors infection appeared as a statistically significant factor predicting a worse outcome. Health education among alcoholic patients and life style modifications to prevent cryptogenic cirrhosis are of paramount importance in curtailing the increase in incidence of HE in this region.


Alcoholic liver disease, Cryptogenic cirrhosis, Hepatic encephalopathy

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