IMC Journal
IMC Journal
IMCJMS


Issue: Vol.12 No.1 - January 2018
Factors associated with non-response to lactulose therapy in cirrhotic patients with minimal hepatic encephalopathy
Authors:
Shireen Ahmed
Shireen Ahmed
Affiliations

Department of Gastroenterology Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Disorders,BIRDEM General Hospital,122, Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, Dhaka-1000

,
Md. Golam Azam
Md. Golam Azam
Affiliations

Department of Gastroenterology Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Disorders,BIRDEM General Hospital,122, Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, Dhaka-1000

,
Indrajit Kumar Datta
Indrajit Kumar Datta
Affiliations

Department of Gastroenterology Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Disorders,BIRDEM General Hospital,122, Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, Dhaka-1000

,
Md. Nazmul Hoque
Md. Nazmul Hoque
Affiliations

Department of Gastroenterology Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Disorders,BIRDEM General Hospital,122, Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, Dhaka-1000

,
Tareq M Bhuiyan
Tareq M Bhuiyan
Affiliations

Department of Gastroenterology Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Disorders,BIRDEM General Hospital,122, Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, Dhaka-1000

Background and objectives: Minimal hepatic encephalopathy (MHE) impairs health related quality of life and predicts overt hepatic encephalopathy (HE) in cirrhotic patients. Lactulose is effective in the treatment of MHE. But the response to lactulose treatment depends on several factors. This study was aimed to find out the contributing factors to non-response to lactulose therapy.

Materials and methods: The study was carried out at the BIRDEM general hospital from September, 2013 to March, 2015. Sixty patients were enrolled to assess the response of lactulose therapy in cirrhotic patients with MHE. MHE was diagnosed based on abnormal psychometric tests namely, number connection test (NCT), digit symbol test (DST) and high serum ammonia level. A daily dose of 30-60 ml of lactulose was given to all patients for one month. The response to treatment with regard to MHE was determined after one month using defined criteria. The response was graded as responder and non-responder.

Results: The mean age of the study population was 57.0±10.3 years. Out of 60 cases, 46 (77%) were male and 39 (65%) had diabetes. Out of 60 enrolled MHE cases, 16 (27%) had Child-Turcotte-Pugh-A (CTP-A) score and 44 (73%) belonged to CTP-B & C category.

Out of 60 MHE cases, 23 (38.3%) showed improvement in their MHE status based on normalization of psychometric tests and reduction of serum ammonia level to ≤32 µmol/L. Age, gender and diabetes were not associated with the response to lactulose therapy. Low baseline arterial pressure was significantly (p=0.003) associated with non-response to lactulose treatment. The mean baseline ammonia level was higher significantly among the non-responders compared to the responders (83.6±21.4 µmol/L vs 58.8±19.8 µmol/L, p<0.001). Compared to responders, low serum sodium and potassium and raised serum bilirubin levels of non-responders at baseline were found significantly (p<0.05) associated with non-response to one month of lactulose treatment. Initial hemoglobulin, peripheral leucocyte and platelet counts did not have any effect on the response to lactulose treatment in MHE cases.

Conclusions:The status of MHE in patients with cirrhosis improved by one-month treatment with lactulose. Baseline low arterial pressure, hyperammonemia, hypokalemia and hyponatremia were major contributors to non-response to lactulose therapy. The findings of the study would be useful in treating patients of cirrhosis with MHE.

IMC J Med Sci 2018; 12(1): 15-21

Address for Correspondence: Dr. Shireen Ahmed, Registrar, Department of Gastroenterology Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Disorders, BIRDEM General Hospital, 122 Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, Dhaka, Bangladesh. E-mail: a.alwasi15@gmail.com