1Department of Medicine, University of Padova, Italy.
Sleep-wake abnormalities in patients with cirrhosis have been traditionally associated with hepatic encephalopathy (HE). In recent years, a certain amount of work has been devoted to the study of this relationship. This has lead to a modified picture, with weakening of the association between HE and poor night sleep, and the emergence of stronger links between HE and excessive daytime sleepiness. This brief review focuses on the evidence in favor of the interpretation of HE as a sleepiness syndrome, and on the diagnostic, therapeutic and social implications of such an interpretation.