Are the cognitive impairments due to hepatic encephalopathy (HE) reversible?

Updated: Apr 04, 2019
  • Author: David C Wolf, MD, FACP, FACG, AGAF, FAASLD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Classically, hepatic encephalopathy was regarded as a reversible condition. Patients appeared to improve with either drug therapy (eg, lactulose or rifaximin) or liver transplantation. However, a recent study assessed cirrhotic patients who had apparently recovered from an episode of overt hepatic encephalopathy. After careful psychometric testing, it was discovered that these clinically improved patients had residual cognitive impairment compared with cirrhotic patients with either minimal hepatic encephalopathy or no encephalopathy. [22]


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