Overt hepatic encephalopathy precipitated by zinc deficiency

Carin C.D. Van Der Rijt, Solko W. Schalm*, Han Schat, Karen Foeken, Gosse De Jong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)


Encephalopathy in liver disease may be unresponsive to protein restriction, lactulose, and neomycin. Zinc supplements have been reported to improve psychometric performance in liver cirrhosis, but the importance of zinc deficiency in overt hepatic encephalopathy has not yet been clearly established. A patient with severe recurrent hepatic encephalopathy was studied to determine the relation between her signs of encephalopathy and zinc deficiency. The study included a period in which zinc deficiency was artificially induced by oral histidine. An episode of overt encephalopathy occurred that was identical to earlier episodes and responded to oral zinc. The study showed an association between encephalopathy and zinc deficiency by successive zinc depletion and supplementation regimens. Longterm zinc supplementation improved severe recurrent hepatic encephalopathy and therefore the quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1114-1118
Number of pages5
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1991


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