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Inhibitory control test is a simple method to diagnose minimal hepatic encephalopathy and predict development of overt hepatic encephalopathy. Am J Gastroenterol 2007 Apr;102(4):754-60



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-33947674810   102 Citations


OBJECTIVES: To compare inhibitory control test (ICT), a simple/rapid test of attention, to a standard psychometric battery (SPT) to diagnose minimal hepatic encephalopathy (MHE) and predict development of overt hepatic encephalopathy (OHE) in cirrhotic patients.

METHODS: Fifty nonalcoholic cirrhotics and 50 age/educational-status-matched controls were given ICT and SPT in the same sitting. Performance impaired beyond two standard deviations of controls was considered MHE in cirrhotics. ICT results (lure/target response and lures/person) were compared between controls and cirrhotics and within cirrhotics with/without MHE. Receiver-operating characteristic analysis was used to study ICT for MHE diagnosis. Twenty subjects were administered SPT and ICT twice to assess test-retest reliability. All cirrhotics were followed routinely for the development of OHE.

RESULTS: Cirrhotics performed worse than controls on SPT and ICT. Using SPT, 39 cirrhotics had MHE. ICT was administered faster than SPT (15 vs 37 min). Cirrhotics with MHE had significantly higher lure (28%vs 3%) and lower target response (91%vs 96%) compared with those without MHE. Lure/person >5 had 90% sensitivity/specificity for MHE diagnosis. AUC for receiver-operating characteristic for lures alone was 95.8%. Lure and target responses were highly correlated (r= 0.9) between sessions showing high test-retest reliability. Five (10%) patients developed OHE on f/u of 26 +/- 10 months; all five had been diagnosed with MHE using ICT and SPT. None of the five patients with discordant results on SPT and ICT developed OHE.

CONCLUSIONS: ICT has good sensitivity/specificity for MHE diagnosis, is reliable and is equivalent to SPT for predicting OHE development.

Author List

Bajaj JS, Saeian K, Verber MD, Hischke D, Hoffmann RG, Franco J, Varma RR, Rao SM


Kia Saeian MD Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Hepatic Encephalopathy
Logistic Models
Middle Aged
Neuropsychological Tests
Predictive Value of Tests
ROC Curve
Reproducibility of Results
Sensitivity and Specificity
jenkins-FCD Prod-411 e00897e83867fcfa48419861683711f8d99adb75