Hepato-neuro lab

Hepatic encephalopathy

What is HE?

Hepatic (liver) encephalopathy (brain disorder) is a neuropsychiatric disease affecting the brain, caused by an hepatic dysfunction. Liver diseases are an emerging cause of death in Canada, being in the 11th place. Furthermore, CLF foresee an aggravation with a 1 Canadian on 4 is at risk of developping a liver disease, mainly due to increase of prevalence of obesity (Sanabria et al, 2013). Between 30% and 80% of patients suffering from hepatic disease will develop hepatic encephalopathy presenting with cognitive, psychiatric and motor troubles, which can result in hepatic coma and death.

Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is a complex neuropsychiatric syndrome exhibiting several symptoms:

  • Confusion or amnesia

  • Euphoria or depression

  • Lack of attention or inability to perform mental tasks

  • Irritability, changes in personality

  • Altered circadian rhythms, sleep/wake cycle

  • Tremors, lack of coordination, abnormal reflexes

  • Sleepiness, lethargy

  • Disorientation

  • Coma


  1. A. J. Sanabria, R. Dion, E. Lúcar, J. C. Soto (2013) Evolution of the determinants of chronic liver disease in Quebec. Chronic diseases and injuries in Canada, 33: 137-145.