Encephalopathy is a general term for disease affecting the brain. Encephalopathy has a variety of causes, but this page will cover those caused by liver damage: hepatic encephalopathy. Normally, a healthy liver filters and breaks down toxic substances in the blood. When normal liver functions are impaired by infection, alcohol, medication, or other factors, these toxic substances build up and can damage many organs, including the brain.
Hepatic encephalopathy is classified using the West Haven Criteria, which has 4 grades ranging from shorter attention span, personality changes, confusion, and coma.
Liver disease and other factors that affect liver function can cause hepatic encephalopathy:
Hepatic encephalopathy can begin with mild or severe symptoms, ultimately leading to coma if untreated.
In addition to the symptoms and medical history, tests that may be performed include:
For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our IR physicians, please call 310-481-7545.