1 Department of Translational and Precision Medicine, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Rome 00185, Italy.
2 Department of Translational and Precision Medicine, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Rome 00185, Italy. email@example.com.
Minimal hepatic encephalopathy (MHE) represents the mildest type of hepatic encephalopathy (HE). MHE is considered as a preclinical stage of HE and is part of a wide spectrum of typical neurocognitive alterations characteristic of patients with liver cirrhosis, particularly involving the areas of attention, alertness, response inhibition, and executive functions. MHE can be detected by testing the patients' psychometric performance, attention, working memory, psychomotor speed, and visuospatial ability, as well as by means of electrophysiological and other functional brain measures. MHE is very frequent, affecting from 20% up to 80% of patients tested, depending of the diagnostic tools used. Although subclinical, MHE is considered to be clinically relevant. In fact, MHE has been related to the patients' falls, fitness to drive, and working ability. As a consequence, MHE affects the patients and caregivers lives by altering their quality of life and even their socioeconomic status. Recently sarcopenia, a very common condition in patients with advanced liver disease, has been shown to be strictly related to both minimal and overt HE. Aim of this review is to summarize the most recently published evidences about the emerging relationship between sarcopenia and cognitive impairment in cirrhotic patients and provide suggestions for future research.