1Department of Medical Gastroenterology, Stanley Medical College and Hospital, Chennai 600001, India.
2Banner Alzheimer's Institute, E Willetta Street, Phoenix, AZ 85006, USA.
3Global Health City, Perumbakkam, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600100, India.
Background and Aims: Minimal hepatic encephalopathy (MHE) is diagnosed using neuropsychometric tests or neurophysiological tests that are either inapplicable to illiterate patient population in resource-poor settings or require sophisticated and expensive equipment. The available tests assess discrete domains of mental impairment. Our aim was (a) to design a neuropsychometric test that measures all domains of mental impairment in MHE using one metric; (b) to evaluate its sensitivity, specificity, and reproducibility.
Methods: The mind and liver test (MALT), a psychometric test assessing cognition, memory, and psychometric impairment, each on a scale of 20, was designed keeping in mind the requirements of a universal test. 40 cirrhotics and 36 controls were subjected to critical flicker frequency (CFF) and MALT in same sitting. ROC curve was plotted for MALT using CFF as gold standard. Bland-Altman plot was used to find test-retest agreement.
Results: CFF values and MALT scores varied significantly between the cases and the controls (P < 0.05). MALT was 94% sensitive and 83% specific. Using ROC with CFF as gold standard, the AUC for diagnosis of MHE using MALT score was 0.89. Test-retest agreement was high (ICC = 0.89).
Conclusion: In this pilot study, MALT proved to be highly sensitive, specific, inexpensive, and reproducible.