Garrido M, Turco M, Formentin C, Corrias M, De Rui M, Montagnese S, Amodio P.
BMJ Open Gastroenterology 2017
BACKGROUND: Providing structured information for the understanding of hepatic encephalopathy (HE) might be relevant to the prevention and management of the syndrome. The aim of our study was to design a brief, structured educational intervention and evaluate its usefulness in preventing HE-related hospitalisation over time.
METHODS: Thirty-nine cirrhotic outpatients with a history of HE were enrolled and randomly assigned to an intervention (group A; n=20) or control group (group B; n=19). All of them underwent evaluation of HE (clinical and quantitative neuropsychiatric assessment) and completed the Questionnaire on the Awareness of Encephalopathy. A 15 min educational session was then provided to patients in group A, including basic information on the pathophysiology, hygienic and medical management of HE.
RESULTS: No demographic/clinical differences were observed at baseline between the two groups. Similarly, there were no significant differences in HE-related information available at baseline between the two groups; knowledge of HE was limited in both. The intervention was highly effective in increasing patients’ understanding of treatment of the condition (from 5% to 80%). The educational intervention also reduced the risk of developing an episode of HE over a period of 12 months.
CONCLUSION: The educational intervention confirmed the poor knowledge of patients with previous HE about their condition, served as a tool to increase patients’ awareness, and minimised HE-related readmission rates over a period of 1 year.