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The Psychometric Hepatic Encephalopathy Syndrome score does not correlate with blood ammonia, endotoxins or markers of inflammation in patients with cirrhosis

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Background: The pathogenesis of hepatic encephalopathy (HE) remains unclear but impaired clearance of gut-derived neurotoxins and increased systemic inflammation are thought to play key roles. The diagnosis is based on detection of neurophysiological and neuropsychometric abnormalities. The Psychometric Hepatic Encephalopathy Score (PHES) have been found to correlate with markers of systematic inflammation including interleukin 6, C-reactive protein (CRP) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). This study explores the associations between the PHES score and systemic inflammation, endotoxins and disease severity using baseline data from a trial involving patients with cirrhosis and minimal or no HE (NCT01769040).

Methods: Arterial blood was obtained during hepatic vein catheterization, from 54 patients [median age 55 (range, 33-70) years; 83% men] with decompensated but stable cirrhosis. None had clinical evidence of HE but 34 (55.6%) had an abnormal PHES score indicating the presence of minimal HE. Relationships were sought between the PHES score and markers of systemic inflammation, high sensitivity-CRP, cytokines (SDF-1α, TGF-b1, IP-10, IL-6, 10 and 18, and TNF-α; lipopolysaccharide (LPS), the lipopolysaccharide binding protein (LBP) and soluble CD14 (sCD14); and the blood ammonia.

Results: No significant relationships were found between the PHES score and any of the variables tested with the single exception of the correlation with serum IL-6 (r=-0.29, 95% confidence interval, -0.53 to -0.02, P=0.031). No independent predictors of the PHES score were identified in regression analyses.

Conclusions: No predictive associations were identified between the PHES scores and circulating blood ammonia, endotoxins, or markers of systemic inflammation in this patient population.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTranslational gastroenterology and hepatology
Pages (from-to)8
Publication statusPublished - 2021

ID: 61674665