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hepatic encephalopathy


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(portosystemic encephalopathy) a condition in which brain function is impaired by the presence of toxic substances, absorbed from the colon, which are normally removed or detoxified by the liver. It occurs when the liver is severely damaged (as in cirrhosis) or bypassed. Symptoms include drowsiness, confusion, difficulty in performing tasks (e.g. writing), and coma. Treatment is mainly directed towards the underlying cause of liver failure or decompensation (e.g. arresting gastrointestinal haemorrhage, treating infection, etc). Supportive measures may include administering bowel cleansers (especially lactulose, orally or by enema) and reducing protein and/or salt intake.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.


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