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April 1980

Psychomotor Performance Defects in Cirrhotic Patients Without Overt Encephalopathy

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine (Drs S. Gilberstadt, Zieve, and McClain), Psychology (Dr H. Gilberstadt and Ms Buegel), and Education (Dr Collier), Minneapolis Veterans Hospital, Hennepin County Medical Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Arch Intern Med. 1980;140(4):519-521. doi:10.1001/archinte.1980.00330160079031

• Psychometric tests were administered to 36 alcoholic patients with cirrhosis without overt portal systemic encephalopathy and to 32 alcoholics without liver disease. Verbal ability was preserved in both groups. The cirrhotic patients scored worse than the alcoholics without liver disease on most of the tests of psychomotor performance. Based on the three most discriminative tests, 50% of the cirrhotic patients had one or more scores that were more abnormal than those of any member of the alcoholic group. Significant correlations were found between the severity of liver disease and most tests of performance in the cirrhotic group, due primarily to the influence of serum albumin as a component of the severity index. We conclude that psychomotor tests are sensitive tools for the detection of latent encephalopathy, and that nutritional status probably plays a role in determining test performance.

(Arch Intern Med 140:519-521, 1980)