November 27, 2015
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Encephalopathy (cont.)

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What are the complications of encephalopathy?

Complications of encephalopathy vary from none to profound mental impairments that lead to death. The complications can be similar in some cases. Also, many investigators consider encephalopathy itself to be a complication that arises from a primary health problem or primary diagnosis.

Complications depend on the primary cause of encephalopathy and can be illustrated by citing a few examples from the wide variety of causes:

  • Hepatic (liver) encephalopathy (brain swelling with herniation, coma, death)
  • Metabolic encephalopathy (irritability, lethargy, depression, tremors; occasionally, coma or death)
  • Anoxic encephalopathy (wide range of complications, from none in short-term anoxia to personality changes, severe brain damage to death in long-term anoxic events)
  • Uremic encephalopathy (lethargy, hallucinations, stupor, muscle twitching, seizures, death)
  • Hashimoto's encephalopathy (confusion, heat intolerance, dementia)
  • Wernicke's encephalopathy (mental confusion, memory loss, decreased ability to move eyes)
  • Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or "mad cow disease" (ataxia, dementia, and myoclonus or muscle twitching without any rhythm or pattern)
  • Shigella encephalopathy (headache, stiff neck, delirium, seizures, coma)
  • Infectious causes of pediatric encephalopathy (irritability, poor feeding, hypotonia or floppy baby syndrome, seizures, death)

The best way to understand potential complications is to discuss these with the diagnosing doctor who can discuss the possible problems associated with the specific cause(s) of the type of encephalopathy.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/29/2015


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