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What are the Different Types of Hepatic Encephalopathy Treatment?

By H. Lo
Updated May 17, 2024
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Different types of hepatic encephalopathy (HE) treatment include medication, diet changes and dialysis. In addition to these treatment options, the doctor might have to drain the intestines of blood or put the patient on life support. The purpose of hepatic encephalopathy treatment is to deal with toxins, heal infections, and stop internal bleeding. Patients who have difficulty breathing or trouble with blood circulation or go into a coma are the ones who will require life support.

In general, hepatic encephalopathy treatment involves eliminating or managing the cause of the problem. Hepatic encephalopathy itself is a medical condition in which the brain ceases to function properly as a result of liver damage or failure. The liver is an organ in the body that performs many functions, one of them being removing toxins, such as ammonia, from the blood. When the liver is unable to remove these substances, they enter the brain, causing acute or chronic hepatic encephalopathy.

There are a variety of medications that will work in hepatic encephalopathy treatment. Different medications can help deal with toxins, as well as heal infections. To ensure the best treatment possible, the doctor might not use medications that depend on the liver to break down. In addition, he might not recommend medications that contain certain substances, like ammonium. Examples of medications that the doctor might prescribe are lactulose, neomycin or rifaximin.

Another hepatic encephalopathy treatment option is a change in diet, which will take care of protein, and thus, liver problems. This is because when a person digests protein, the body produces ammonia, which is a toxin that the liver normally handles. With the liver not functioning properly, though, the intake of too much protein could be a problem. At the same time, too little protein is also a problem, so the patient will most likely consult with a dietitian to ensure he is getting the right amount of it in relation to the illness.

Dialysis is yet another way to help treat hepatic encephalopathy. This is because another problem related to toxins is the threat of kidney failure. The kidneys are organs that filter blood and remove waste from the body. Without them, a buildup of waste can occur.

Other hepatic encephalopathy treatment options include emptying blood from the intestines and starting life support. If there is too much bleeding associated with the gastrointestinal organs, this might be a reason to remove blood from the system. In severe cases, a patient might require life support, especially in the event of a coma. Other reasons for life support are if the patient needs help breathing or if the blood is not circulating properly.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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