Skip to main content
  • Poster presentation
  • Open access
  • Published:

Neuropsychological impairment in alcoholic cirrhosis: correlates and effects on One-year outcome


Patients with alcoholic cirrhosis are vulnerable to neuropsychological impairment due to years of heavy drinking and the effects of liver disease on brain function. Delineation of the neuropsychological impairment in alcoholic cirrhosis can assist clinicians in planning medical and substance abuse treatment programs.

Materials and methods

One hundred ten subjects with alcoholic cirrhosis were interviewed and followed for one year for alcoholism relapse and death. Subjects completed at baseline the Shipley Institute of Living scale, the Trails B test, the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire and other measures of alcoholism severity. Subjects were followed for one year using daily diaries, interviews with collateral sources and medical record review. Statistical analysis included the Spearman correlation coefficient, ANOVA and Kaplan-Meier survival analysis.


The subjects in this study had a mean (S.D.) age of 47.3 (9.3) years. Women comprised 24.6% of the study population. Thirty-one subjects (28.2%) relapsed to drinking and twenty-eight (25.5%) died in the one year follow up period. Thirty-five subjects (31.8%) received liver transplantation during the one-year follow up. Neuropsychological impairment (Trails B time) correlated with alcoholism severity (r = 0.19, p < 0.05, df = 107), personality psychopathology (r = 0.238, p < 0.05, df = 107) but not with duration of sobriety. There was a trend for subjects with evidence of cognitive impairment (SILS Verbal score-SILS Abstract Score>15) to have higher relapse rates (39.2% versus 24.7%, Kaplan-Meier Chi-Square = 3.42, p = 0.06, df = 1). There was no association between cognitive impairment and one-year mortality.


This study suggests that cognitive impairment in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis is a common and important clinical variable. Cognitive impairment should be further studied as a modifying variable for risk to relapse to drinking in this population.


  1. McAndrews MP, Farcnik K, Carlen P, Damyanovich A, Mrkonjic M, Jones S, Heathcote EJ: Prevalence and significance of neurocognitive dysfunction in hepatitis C in the absence of correlated factors. Hepatology. 2005, 41: 801-808. 10.1002/hep.20635.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Wissenborn K, Bokeymeyer M, Ahl B, Fischer-Wasels D, Giewekemeyer K, van den Hoff J, Kostler H, Berding G: Functional imaging of the brain in patients with liver cirrhosis. Metab Brain Dis. 2004, 19: 269-280. 10.1023/B:MEBR.0000043976.17500.8e.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Collie A: Cognition in liver disease. Liver Int. 2005, 25: 1-8. 10.1111/j.1478-3231.2005.01012.x.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Pantiga C, Rodrigo LR, Cuesta M, Lopez L, Arias JL: Cognitive deficits in patients with hepatic cirrhosis and in liver transplant patients. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neuroscience. 2003, 15: 84-89.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Yates, W. Neuropsychological impairment in alcoholic cirrhosis: correlates and effects on One-year outcome. Ann Gen Psychiatry 5 (Suppl 1), S247 (2006).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: