WASHINGTON – One of the many comorbidities of cirrhosis is hepatic encephalopathy and its development is insidious. Often the patient is unaware and symptoms may not be so obvious to the physician that testing seems imperative, according to Dr. Jasmohan Bajaj of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and McGuire VAMC.
He and his coworkers have developed an easy-to-use smartphone screening tool that tests the patient’s cognitive speed and flexibility, which physicians can administer themselves without having to refer the patient to psychiatric services. Currently, the need for a referral often means that these end-stage liver patients are not screened or treated for hepatic encephalopathy until their cognitive symptoms are overt.
Dr. Bajaj has received support or consulting fees from, or has been on advisory committees for, Merz, Otsuka, Salix, and Grifols.