Radiology, Virginia Commonwealth University and McGuire VA Medical Center, Richmond, Virginia.
Hyponatremia (HN) and hepatic encephalopathy (HE) together can impair health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) and cognition in cirrhosis.
To study effect of hyponatremia on cognition, HRQOL and brain MR spectroscopy (MRS) independent of HE.
Four cirrhotic groups(no HE/HN, HE alone, HN alone (sodium<130mEq/L),HE+HN) underwent cognitive testing, HRQOL using Sickness Impact Profile (SIP: higher score is worse; has psycho-social and physical sub-scores) and brain MRS (myoinositol(mI) and glutamate+glutamine(Glx)), which were compared across groups. A subset underwent HRQOL testing before/after diuretic withdrawal.
82 cirrhotics (30 no HE/HN, 25 HE, 17 HE+HN and 10 HN, MELD 12, 63% Hepatitis C) were included. Cirrhotics with HN alone and without HE/HN had better cognition compared to HE groups (median abnormal tests no-HE/HN:3, HN:3.5, HE:6.5,HE+HN:7, p=0.008). Despite better cognition, HN only patients had worse HRQOL in total and psychosocial SIP while both HN groups (with/without HE) had a significantly worse physical SIP(p<0.0001, all comparisons). Brain MRS showed lowest Glx in HN and highest in HE groups (p<0.02). mI levels were comparably decreased in the three affected (HE,HE+HN and HN) groups compared to no HE/HN and were associated with poor HRQOL. Six HE+HN cirrhotics underwent diuretic withdrawal which improved serum sodium and total/psycho-social SIP scores.
Hyponatremic cirrhotics without HE have poor HRQOL despite better cognition than those with concomitant HE. Glx levels were lowest in HN without HE but mI was similar across affected groups. HRQOL improved after diuretic withdrawal. Hyponatremia has a complex, non-linear relationship with brain Glx and mI, cognition and HRQOL.