Encephalopathy (cont.)

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What is the treatment for encephalopathy?

Treatment of encephalopathy varies with the primary cause of the symptoms; consequently, not all cases of encephalopathy are treated the same. The best treatments are designed by the treating physician once the patient's primary diagnosis is made. Treatments are highly variable because the causes are so different.

Examples can show how different "encephalopathy treatment" may change according to the cause:

  • Short-term anoxia (usually less than two minutes): oxygen therapy
  • Long-term anoxia: rehabilitation
  • Short-term alcohol toxicity: IV fluids or no therapy
  • Long-term alcohol abuse (cirrhosis or chronic liver failure): oral lactulose, low-protein diet, antibiotics
  • Uremic encephalopathy (due to kidney failure): correct the underlying physiologic cause, dialysis, kidney transplant
  • Diabetic encephalopathy: administer glucose to treat hypoglycemia, removal of blood glucose to treat hyperglycemia
  • Hypo- or hypertensive encephalopathy: medications to raise (for hypotensive) or reduce (for hypertensive) blood pressure

The key to treatment of any encephalopathy is to understand the basic cause and thus design a treatment scheme to reduce or eliminate the cause(s). There is one type of encephalopathy that is difficult or impossible to treat; it is static encephalopathy (an altered mental state or brain damage that is permanent). The best that can be done with static encephalopathy is, if possible, to prevent further damage and implement rehabilitation to allow the individual to perform at his or her highest possible functional level.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/9/2012

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Encephalopathy - Type of Encephalopathy Question: From what type of encephalopathy did you suffer?
Encephalopathy - Symptoms Question: What were the symptoms of encephalopathy in you or someone you know?
Encephalopathy - Diagnosis Question: What types of tests and exams led to the diagnosis of encephalopathy in you, a friend, or relative?
Encephalopathy - Prognosis Question: What is the outlook for a patient you know who had encephalopathy?

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