Neuropsychological abnormalities in cirrhosis include learning impairment

María Ortiz, Juan Córdoba, Carlos Jacas, Montserrat Flavià, Rafael Esteban, Jaume Guardia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Aims: Minimal hepatic encephalopathy is a neurocognitive disorder secondary to liver failure that is characterized by a pattern of subcortical impairment. The most conspicuous neuropsychological abnormalities are on attention and psychomotor tests; memory has been inconsistently implicated. We designed a study to assess the presence of memory abnormalities in cirrhotic patients and the effects of liver transplantation. Methods: Ninety-seven cirrhotics without overt hepatic encephalopathy underwent neuropsychological assessment, including the Auditory Verbal Learning Memory Test. The results were compared to those of healthy controls (n=75) and the assessment was repeated at one year of follow-up (n=33) or after liver transplantation (n=23). Results: Cirrhotic patients exhibited multiple neuropsychological abnormalities, including several disturbances of the Auditory Verbal Learning memory test: learning, long-term memory and recognition. Abnormalities of long-term memory and recognition were corrected after adjusting for learning impairment. Memory abnormalities correlated to attention impairment and to parameters of liver function. Neuropsychological indexes following liver transplantation did not differ from controls. Repeated testing did not have a major effect on neuropsychological tests in healthy subjects and in non-transplanted cirrhotics. Conclusions: Learning impairment is present in cirrhotic patients with neuropsychological abnormalities. This abnormality is consistent with attention deficit secondary to minimal hepatic encephalopathy. © 2005 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-110
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006


  • Hepatic encephalopathy
  • Liver transplantation
  • Memory
  • Neuropsychological tests


Dive into the research topics of 'Neuropsychological abnormalities in cirrhosis include learning impairment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this