Definition of Hepatic encephalopathy

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.


Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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