Encephalopathy - Prognosis

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What is the prognosis (outlook) for encephalopathy?

The prognosis for a patient with encephalopathy depends on the initial causes and, in general, the length of time it takes to reverse, stop, or inhibit those causes. Consequently, the prognosis varies from patient to patient and ranges from complete recovery to a poor prognosis that often leads to permanent brain damage or death. This highly variable prognosis is exemplified by patients that get encephalopathy from hypoglycemia. If patients with hypoglycemia are given glucose at the first signs of encephalopathy (for example, irritability, mild confusion), most patients recover completely. Delays in correcting hypoglycemia (hours to days) may lead to seizures or coma, which may be halted by treatment with complete or partial recovery (minimal permanent brain damage). A long delay or multiple delays in treatment can lead to a poor prognosis with extensive brain damage, coma, or death.

Although the symptoms and time frame vary widely from patient to patient and according to the initial causes of encephalopathy (see above sections for examples of causes), the prognosis of each case usually follows the pattern described in the hypoglycemic example above and depends upon the extent and rapidity with which the underlying cause is treated. The doctor or team of doctors treating the underlying cause of encephalopathy can offer the best information on the individual's prognosis.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: carad, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: February 11

My husband has encephalopathy and they say he will get better and return to pretty normal. But we just got him home last night and all was pretty well, however this morning he was very angry and verbally abusive to me.

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Comment from: mazzy40, 19-24 Female (Caregiver) Published: November 24

My son had a really bad multiple sclerosis (MS) relapse from the onset of his MS. He has memory loss, double vision in both eyes, personality change, extreme fatigue (sleeping 20 plus hours per day unless awakened), numbness from head to toe, falling everywhere and lost 3 stone in 6 weeks. But the worst thing is the mood swings. He was found to have encephalopathy, and after he received plasma exchange physically he started to improve but the damage has been done to the brain. The mood swings he has are horrendous at times and police have been involved, he can be very abusive. He doesn't see he has a problem but everyone around him can see it, he now has obsessive spending and behavioral changes which is very challenging to live with. One day my son was a healthy soldier, next thing he has got an aggressive form of remitting and relapsing MS and left with some sort of brain damage.

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