Volume 12, Issue 1: Hepatic EncephalopathyAuthor: Gareth Williams
Hepatic encephalopathy – simply intoxicated or something more complex?
It’s New Year’s Eve and already very dark at 6pm, the radio buzzes, a category one emergency response. On arrival the patient is unconscious and there is a smell of alcohol in the air, a typical initial presentation for the time of year? You begin your assessment…
It is estimated that 40% of cirrhotic patients are at risk of developing hepatic encephalopathy (HE), the symptoms can be subtle and may overlap with other neurological conditions/pathologies. This article describes the pathophysiology of HE and gives guidance on how to use clinical decision making based upon patient history, clinical findings and examination, pattern recognition/clinical gestalt and red flag symptoms to ensure the most appropriate patient management and destination. It also discusses the need for clinicians to be aware of their own bias to avoid misjudging the severity of the patient’s condition or incorrect treatment.
To check your answers to the quiz please see the back page of the issue or, to get your CPD Certificate, complete the quiz via the ParaPass app: parapassweb.co.uk.
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