Department of Hepatology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.
The Gastro Unit, Medical Division, Hvidovre Hospital, Hvidovre, Denmark.
Hepatic Encephalopathy (HE) is associated with abnormalities in brain metabolism of glucose, oxygen and amino acids. In patients with acute liver failure, cortical lactate to pyruvate ratio is increased, which is indicative of a compromised cerebral oxidative metabolism. In this meta-analysis we have reviewed the published data on cerebral blood flow and metabolic rates from clinical studies of patients with HE. We found that hepatic encephalopathy was associated with reduced cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen, glucose, and blood flow. One exemption was in HE type B (shunt/by-pass) were a tendency towards increased cerebral blood flow was seen. We speculate that HE is associated with a disturbed metabolism-cytopathic hypoxia-and that type specific differences of brain metabolism is due to differences in pathogenesis of HE.