Diagnosis of Hepatic Encephalopathy

Encephalopathy refers to a wide range of disorders or diseases of the brain. Some diseases may develop gradually, while others manifest severe symptoms and may turn fatal quickly. The diagnosis of Hepatic Encephalopathy requires both physical exams and mental evaluation.

Since there are different kinds of Encephalopathy and some brain diseases may mimic similar symptoms, it is important to diagnose correctly.

  • Tests for Hepatic Encephalopathy include lab tests, which determine blood count and hemoglobin levels. Your doctor may also recommend a hematocrit to measure level of anemia in patients with Hepatic Encephalopathy.
  • Your doctor may prescribe specific blood tests to determine potassium and sodium levels in the blood as well as serum ammonia levels in the blood and urine.
  • Your doctor may also recommend a CT scan of the head and an MRI to determine any structural changes to the brain. An EEG or Electroencephalography records electrical activity along the scalp line and maybe used to determine changes or alterations in brain & signal activity.
  • Liver function tests and kidney function tests such as BUN and creatinine levels maybe measured, especially in the case of Hepatic Encephalopathy.
  • Another test administered to patients suspected of Hepatic Encephalopathy includes Prothrombin Time (PT). PT refers to a blood test, which measures how much time it takes for the plasma in the blood to clot.

Your doctor may also undertake tests to determine deterioration in your limb coordination or reflex movements. Psychological evaluation may focus on questions to check your mental faculties and monitor your behavior and mood changes. Tests maybe administered to determine changes in cognitive thought and process.