Lege Artis Medicinae

[Prevention and treatment of hepatic encephalopathy]

HUNYADY Béla

JUNE 15, 2012

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2012;22(05)

[As acute or chronic liver diseases progress, liver failure and related hepatic encephalopathy may develop. The latter occurs in more than 70% of patients with hepatic cirrhosis. Because of declining cognitive functions, sleep disturbances, memory problems and impaired motion coordination, this condition can - even in mild form - limit the patient's self-sufficiency and activity and can lead to a decreased quality of life and ability to work. Its most advanced stage, hepatic coma is one of the leading causes of liver-related mortality. These conditions generate a substantial healthcare costs. Treatment of hepatic encephalopathy involves dietary restrictions, prevention and treatment of precipitating factors, inhibition of the production and absorption of toxic substances (especially ammonia) and restoration of the amino acid balance. In addition to the traditionally used treatment with disaccharids (lactulose, lactitol), evidence has been accumulating regarding the efficacy and safety of a nonabsorbable antibiotic compound, rifaximin, which targets enteral pathogen bacteria, both in treatment and in prevention of hepatic encephalopathy. Artificial liver support therapies have been also introduced in Hungary. This review summarises the experience regarding treatment of hepatic encephalography for physicians involved in the management of patients with hepatic diseases.]

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