What is Hepatic Encephalopathy?

Hepatic Encephalopathy, sometimes referred to as portosystemic encephalopathy or PSE, is a condition that causes temporary worsening of brain function in people with advanced liver disease. When your liver is damaged it can no longer remove toxic substances from your blood. These toxins build up and can travel through your body until they reach your brain, causing mental and physical symptoms of HE.

Hepatic Encephalopathy often starts slowly, and at first you may not be aware you have it. The stages of HE span from mild to severe and symptoms vary depending on how bad your liver disease is. It’s important for you and your family to become familiar with the signs of Hepatic Encephalopathy so you can tell your doctor right away if you think you may have it. Prompt identification and treatment of HE is essential to stopping the progression of this condition. Progression may not stop despite best efforts.

Read on to learn more about HE, its symptoms, stages and treatment. Being a fully-informed participant in your medical care is an important factor in staying as healthy as possible. The American Liver Foundation is here to answer all your questions about HE, one step at a time.