Cognitive dysfunction in cirrhosis is associated with falls: A prospective study

Germán Soriano, Eva Román, Joan Córdoba, Maria Torrens, Maria Poca, Xavier Torras, Càndid Villanueva, Ignasi J. Gich, Víctor Vargas, Carlos Guarner

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80 Citations (Scopus)


Falls are frequent among patients with debilitating disorders and can have a serious effect on health status. Mild cognitive disturbances associated with cirrhosis may increase the risk for falls. Identifying subjects at risk may allow the implementation of preventive measures. Our aim was to assess the predictive value of the Psychometric Hepatic Encephalopathy Score (PHES) in identifying patients likely to sustain falls. One hundred and twenty-two outpatients with cirrhosis were assessed using the PHES and were followed at specified intervals. One third of them exhibited cognitive dysfunction (CD) according to the PHES (<-4). Seventeen of the forty-two patients (40.4%) with CD had at least one fall during follow-up. In comparison, only 5 of 80 (6.2%) without CD had falls (P < 0.001). Fractures occurred in 4 patients (9.5%) with CD, but in no patients without CD (P = 0.01). Patients with CD needed more healthcare (23.8% versus 2.5%; P < 0.001), more emergency room care (14.2% versus 2.5%; P = 0.02), and more hospitalization (9.5% versus 0%; P = 0.01) as a result of falls than patients without CD. Patients taking psychoactive treatment (n = 21) had a higher frequency of falls, and this was related to an abnormal PHES. In patients without psychoactive treatment (n = 101), the incidence of falls was 32.4% in patients with CD versus 7.5% in those without CD (P = 0.003). In the multivariate analysis, CD was the only independent predictive factor of falls (odds ratio, 10.2; 95% confidence interval, 3.4-30.4; P < 0.001). The 1-year probability of falling was 52.3% in patients with CD and 6.5% in those without (P < 0.001). Conclusion: An abnormal PHES identifies patients with cirrhosis who are at risk for falls. This psychometric test may be useful to promote awareness of falls and identify patients who may benefit from preventive strategies. © 2012 American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1922-1930
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012


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