Sleep disturbance is a classic sign of hepatic encephalopathy. However, there are limited data regarding its prevalence in cirrhotic patients without overt hepatic encephalopathy. We assessed the characteristics of sleep in cirrhosis using a sleep questionnaire (n = 44) and actigraphy (n = 20). The results were compared with those of subjects with chronic renal failure and those of healthy controls. Presence of subclinical hepatic encephalopathy, chronotypology profile, and individual's affective state were also analyzed. The questionnaire indicated an elevated number of cirrhotic patients (47.7%) and patients with chronic renal failure (38.6%) who complained of unsatisfactory sleep compared with healthy controls (4.5%, P < .01). Actigraphy corroborated the deterioration of sleep parameters in cirrhotic patients with unsatisfactory sleep. The sleep disturbance in cirrhosis was not associated with clinical parameters nor with cognitive impairment. Cirrhotic subjects and patients with chronic renal failure with unsatisfactory sleep showed higher scores for depression and anxiety, raising the possibility that the effects of chronic disease may underlie the pathogenesis of sleep disturbance. However, in contrast to chronic renal failure, unsatisfactory sleep in cirrhosis was associated with delayed bedtime, delayed wake-up time, and evening chronotypology. In conclusion, a sleep disturbance is frequent in cirrhotic patients without hepatic encephalopathy and may be related to abnormalities of the circadian timekeeping system.
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