versão impressa ISSN 0121-0793
Encephalopathy is a progressive but reversible complication in patients with acute or chronic hepatic disease. It can reduce the expectancy of life and affect its quality. The most accepted pathogenic theory to explain this syndrome is that of the ammonium toxicity, which may also explain other hypotheses such as edema of the astrocytes, and magnesium toxicity. The present classification system for hepatic encephalopathy was proposed in 1998 at the World Congress of Gastroenterology. It is based on the nature of the hepatic dysfunction, and the characteristics of the neurological manifestations. In order to make the diagnosis, a good clinical knowledge is necessary, since it is based mainly on the exclusion of other diseases. The West Haven criteria are presently used to classify the severity of its clinical presentation. To control the manifestations of this syndrome and to improve the quality of life of patients, different therapeutic measures are used, namely: a diet that includes proteins, non-absorbable disaccharides, and the administration of antibiotics; however, the most important therapeutic measure is to control the precipitating factors. The aim of this article was to review recent concepts on hepatic encephalopathy, with emphasis on its pathogenesis, classification, diagnosis, and treatment.
Palavras-chave : Ammonium neurotoxicity; Hepatic encephalopathy; Proteic diet; Rifaximin; West Haven criteria.