Hepatic Encephalopathy

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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It is possible that the main title of the report Hepatic Encephalopathy is not the name you expected.

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Hepatic encephalopathy is a brain disorder that develops in some individuals with liver disease. Hepatic encephalopathy is a complex disorder that encompasses a spectrum or continuum of disease that ranges from a subtle condition with no outward signs or symptoms to a severe form that can cause serious, life-threatening complications. Symptoms are related to progressive dysfunction of the brain and may include personality changes, intellectual impairment, impaired memory and loss of consciousness (coma). Hepatic encephalopathy can occur in individuals with acute or chronic liver (hepatic) disease or in individuals whose liver is bypassed by a portosystemic shunt (with no liver disease present). A portosystemic shunt is an abnormal passageway that allows blood from the gastrointestinal tract to bypass the liver. They can be present at birth (congenital) or acquired during life. Hepatic encephalopathy is caused when toxins that are normally cleared from the body by the liver accumulate in the blood, eventually traveling to the brain. Many of the symptoms of hepatic encephalopathy are reversible when promptly detected and treated.

Supporting Organizations

American Liver Foundation

39 Broadway, Suite 2700
New York, NY 10006
Fax: (212)483-8179
Tel: (800)465-4837
Email: http://www.liverfoundation.org/contact/
Website: http://www.liverfoundation.org


3 St. Andrews Place
London, NW1 4LB
United Kingdom
Tel: 2074860341
Fax: 2072242012
Email: info@corecharity.org.uk
Website: http://www.corecharity.org.uk

Canadian Liver Foundation

3100 Steeles Avenue East Suite 801
Markham Ontario, L3R 8T3
Tel: 4164913353
Fax: 9057521540
Tel: 8005635483
Email: clf@liver.ca
Website: http://www.liver.ca

NIH/National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive & Kidney Diseases

Office of Communications & Public Liaison
Bldg 31, Rm 9A06
Bethesda, MD 20892-2560
Tel: (301)496-3583
Email: NDDIC@info.niddk.nih.gov
Website: http://www2.niddk.nih.gov/

NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

P.O. Box 5801
Bethesda, MD 20824
Tel: (301)496-5751
Fax: (301)402-2186
Tel: (800)352-9424
Website: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). For a full-text version of this report, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only.

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This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

Last Updated:  4/18/2011
Copyright  2011 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.