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Definition of Hepatic encephalopathy

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Hepatic encephalopathy: Brain dysfunction directly due to liver dysfunction, most often recognized in advanced liver disease. Hepatic encephalopathy may cause disturbances of consciousness and progress to coma.

Hepatic encephalopathy is sometimes said to be synonymous with hepatic coma but this is incorrect. Hepatic coma is the end-stage of the process.

In minimal hepatic encephalopathy (MHE), there may be subtle impairment of behavior, intelligence, and neuromuscular function. Driving ability in MHE may be diminished.

Reviewed on 12/21/2018

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