Background: To evaluate the prevalence and severity of dyspepsia in patients with liver cirrhosis.
Methods: A questionnaire was distributed to 33 consecutive patients suffering from liver cirrhosis (22 males and 11 females, mean age 65.5 years; 24 with post-hepatitis liver cirrhosis and 9 with alcohol- based cirrhosis) to evaluate dyspeptic symptoms. Patients receiving prolonged treatment at home with anti-acid drugs immediately prior to hospitalisation were excluded from the study.
Results: Twenty-eight patients complained of dyspeptic disorders. An organic cause of symptoms could not be identified in 8 patients (24.2%), whereas the following were identified as the causes of organic dyspepsia in the remaining 20 patients, in order of frequency: gastroesophageal reflux disease (55%), congestive gastropathy (40%), gastric or duodenal ulcer (30%) and gallbladder stones (35%). Lastly, a combination of at least two of these morbid conditions was found in 10 patients (50%). The severity of dyspeptic symptoms was similar in both organic and functional forms; symptoms tend to occur with moderate intensity, worsening in parallel with the aggravation of liver disease.
Conclusions: Dyspepsia is a very frequent phenomenon in cirrhotic patients; it is normally sustained by an organic cause. The predominance of functional forms in liver cirrhosis is practically the same as that reported in the general population.