Hepatic Encephalopathy


What is hepatic encephalopathy? Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is a brain condition that is caused by liver disease. Early treatment is needed to reverse the damaging effects of this condition and restore proper brain function.

What causes HE? Liver diseases such as cirrhosis prevent the liver from removing ammonia and other harmful substances from the blood. These harmful substances then travel to the brain and other parts of the body and cause health problems. Any of the following may increase your risk for HE:

What are the signs and symptoms of HE? At first, you may have only mild symptoms. Over time, you may develop more severe symptoms:

How is HE diagnosed?

How is HE treated?

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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