How to diagnose and manage hepatic encephalopathy: a consensus statement on roles and responsibilities beyond the liver specialist

DL Shawcross, AA Dunk, R Jalan, G Kircheis, Rob de Knegt, W Laleman, JK Ramage, H Wedemeyer, IEJ Morgan

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IntroductionHepatic encephalopathy is defined as brain dysfunction caused by liver insufficiency and/or portosystemic shunting. Symptoms include nonspecific cognitive impairment, personality changes and changes in consciousness. Overt (symptomatic) hepatic encephalopathy is a common complication of cirrhosis that is associated with a poor prognosis. Patients with hepatic encephalopathy may present to healthcare providers who do not have primary responsibility for management of patients with cirrhosis. Therefore, we developed a series of consensus points' to provide some guidance on management.MethodsUsing a modified Delphi' process, consensus statements were developed that summarize our recommendations for the diagnosis and management of patients with hepatic encephalopathy. Points on which full consensus could not be reached are also discussed.ResultsOur recommendations emphasize the role of all healthcare providers in the identification of cognitive impairment in patients with cirrhosis and provide guidance on steps that might be considered to make a diagnosis of overt hepatic encephalopathy. In addition, treatment recommendations are summarized. Minimal hepatic encephalopathy can have a significant impact on patients; however, in most circumstances identification and management of minimal hepatic encephalopathy remains the responsibility of specialists in liver diseases.ConclusionOur opinion statements aim to define the roles and responsibilities of all healthcare providers who at times care for patients with cirrhosis and hepatic encephalopathy. We suggest that these recommendations be considered further by colleagues in other disciplines and hope that future guidelines consider the management of patients with cirrhosis and with a suspicion' of cognitive impairment through to a formal diagnosis of hepatic encephalopathy.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)146-152
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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  • EMC MM-04-20-02-A

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