Gastroenterology Unit, Dept. of Emergency and Organ Transplantation (D.E.T.O.), University of Bari, Italy.
Gastroenterology Unit, San Camillo Hospital, Foggia, Italy.
Gastroenterology Unit, Dept. of Emergency and Organ Transplantation (D.E.T.O.), University of Bari, Italy. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A critical flicker frequency (CFF) ≤39 Hz identifies cirrhotic patients with minimal hepatic encephalopathy (mHE) and predicts the risk of both overt hepatic encephalopathy (oHE) and mortality in patients with previous episodes of decompensation and/or oHE.
Herein, we evaluated the effectiveness of CFF in predicting the first episode of oHE and survival in cirrhotics who had never experienced an episode of oHE.
Our cohort study of 134 patients and 150 healthy subjects were examined. A CFF > 39 Hz was considered normal and pathological when ≤39 Hz. The median follow up was 36 months.
At baseline, all controls had CFF > 39 Hz. Ninety-three patients had a CFF > 39 Hz and 41 had a CFF ≤ 39 Hz. The prevalence of CFF ≤ 39 Hz significantly increased with the progression of the Child-Pugh class (p = 0.003). Moreover, the risk of oHE was increased by CFF ≤ 39 (p < 0.001, by log-rank test) [HR = 7.57; CI(3.27-17.50); p < 0.0001, by Cox model] and ammonia [HR = 1.02 CI(1.01-1.03), p = 0.0009]. Both a CFF value ≤ 39 Hz and Child-Pugh class were independent predictors of mortality by Cox model [HR = 1.97; CI(1.01-3.95), p = 0.049; HR = 3.85 CI(1.68-8.83), p = 0.003].
CFF predicts the first episode of oHE in cirrhotics that had never experienced oHE, and predicts mortality risk. These findings suggest that cirrhotic patients should be routinely screened by CFF.