© The Author(s), 2018. Background: Episodes of hepatic encephalopathy (HE) have been related to low survival rate. However, the relation between its clinical evolution and mortality has not been assessed. Methods: A retrospective analysis of 245 cirrhotic patients admitted for an acute episode of HE (≥grade 2) or who developed an HE episode after an upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB) event was performed to assess the relation between time in HE and transplant-free survival. Results: Median (IQR25-75) time in HE was 48 h (24-96 h) in the whole cohort. Patients who presented a longer time in HE (>48 h; n = 89) exhibited a lower transplant-free survival at 28 days (67.2% versus 88.9%, p < 0.001), 90 days (48.7% versus 73.8%, p < 0.001) and 365 days (30.3% versus 53.2%, p < 0.001), as compared to those with less time in HE (≤48 h; n = 156). Survival rates remained significantly different, with lower percentages in the group with time in HE >48 h, when comparing patients according to baseline HE grade (2 versus ≥ 3) or model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) function (≤15 versus >15). Time in HE was also an independent risk factor for mortality at each time point, hazard ratio (HR) (95 CI%) 28 days 2.59 (1.39-4.84); 90 days 1.98 (1.28-3.1) and 365 days 1.5 (1.08-2.19). Conclusions: The duration of the acute HE episode determines survival in cirrhotic patients independently of liver function and baseline HE grade.
- Hepatic encephalopathy
- Time in hepatic encephalopathy
- Transplant-free survival