Cerebral Function in Hepatic Encephalopathy

  • Richard A. Hawkins
  • Anke M. Mans
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 272)


Hepatic encephalopathy in patients may result from the surgical formation of a portacaval shunt, or chronic liver disease, often accompanied by portal systemic shunting (1, 2, 3). Whether the development of encephalopathy is caused by diversion of blood past the liver, decreased liver function, or both, is unknown. The symptoms of hepatic encephalopathy caused by portacaval shunting (pcs) or chronic liver dysfunction in man range from very subtle subclinical abnormalities of intellectual and motor function to coma. The apparent reversibility of these symptoms suggests that the encephalopathy has a metabolic etiology. Even in the absence of serious symptoms brain function is compromised and is more sensitive to a variety of metabolic disturbances which in normal individuals would cause no serious alterations in cerebral function (1,2).


Hepatic Encephalopathy Aromatic Amino Acid Neutral Amino Acid Plasma Amino Acid Hepatic Coma 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard A. Hawkins
    • 1
  • Anke M. Mans
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology and BiophysicsUniversity of Health Sciences The Chicago Medical SchoolNorth ChicagoUSA

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