Hepatic encephalopathy

Is hepatic encephalopathy inherited?

Hepatic encephalopathy is not an inherited condition, so an individual who has it cannot pass it on to his/her children. It is brought on by chronic liver failure, particularly in alcoholics with cirrhosis.

Although there are many theories and possibilities regarding what exactly causes hepatic encephalopathy, it is thought that one of the main causes is the accumulation of ammonia in the blood, which the liver, damaged by alcoholic liver disease, cannot remove. Researchers have found that ammonia alters the expression of certain genes; the genes that may be affected carry instructions for brain proteins. When the instructions in these genes are not "followed" correctly by the body due to the altered expression of the genes, the cells in the brain can no longer function normally, which may contribute to the signs and symptoms of the disease. However, the genes themselves are not changed in such a way that these changes are passed down to an individual's children.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Who first described hepatic encephalopathy?

The association between liver disease and mental disorders has been recognized since the time of Hippocrates. Galen, a Roman physician of the 2nd century, described neurologic and psychiatric symptoms resulting from brain diseases and from diseases of other organs, including the liver. Morgagni, the father of pathologic anatomy, described the relation between liver failure and mental disorder in the 18th century. In one of his case reports, Morgagni described an alcoholic man with a history of abdominal pain and delirium who died in coma. Autopsy showed liver cirrhosis, but the brain was grossly normal. Further studies of hepatic encephalopathy continued in the 19th century. The works in which the modern concepts of hepatic encephalopathy are based were published in the 1950s.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Clinical Research Resources

International Society for Hepatic Encephalopathy and Nitrogen Metabolism (ISHEN)

International Society for Hepatic Encephalopathy and Nitrogen Metabolism (ISHEN) is a non-profit organization aimed at promoting scientific and clinical research on nitrogen metabolism and brain disorders associated with liver disease.

Last updated on 04-27-20

Organizations Supporting This Disease

Hepatitis C Support Project (HCSP)

The Hepatitis C Support Project (HCSP) is a registered non-profit organization founded to address the lack of education, support, and services available at that time for the HCV population. HCSP's mission is to provide unbiased information, support, and advocacy to all communities affected by HCV and HIV/HCV coinfection, including medical providers. To see their Fact Sheet about hepatic encephalopathy, click here.

Last updated on 04-27-20

Where To Start

Hepatic encephalopathy

The Department of Veterans Affairs posts information discussed during a talk on hepatic encephalopathy given at the 2004 Advanced Liver Disease Training Program held in Manhattan, New York, from April 12 to 14, and sponsored by the VA Hepatitis C Resource Center Program and Hepatitis C Program Office. To view the presentation, click on the link.

Last updated on 04-27-20

Name: American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases 1001 North Fairfax, 4th floor
Alexandria, VA, 22314, United States
Phone: 703–299–9766 Fax : 703–299–9622 Email: aasld@aasld.org Url: http://www.aasld.org/
Name: American Liver Foundation 39 Broadway, Suite 2700
New York, NY, 10006, United States
Phone: +1-212-668-1000 Toll Free: +1-800-465-4837 (Helpline) Email: https://liverfoundation.org/for-patients/contact-us/ Url: https://liverfoundation.org/

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