Severe recurrent hepatic encephalopathy that responded to oral branched chain amino acids.Am J Gastroenterol 1996; 91(6):1266-8AJ
Hepatic encephalopathy is a neuropsychiatric syndrome occurring in patients with acute or chronic liver disease. Its pathogenesis remains unclear; however, it appears to be multifactorial. There are several conventional treatments for this condition, such as lactulose, neomycin, and protein restriction. There is significant controversy regarding the role of branched chain amino acids in the treatment of chronic hepatic encephalopathy. We describe a patient who had hepatic encephalopathy secondary to Budd-Chairi syndrome and a mesoatrial shunt that failed vigorous conventional therapy. She required multiple hospitalizations for severe recurrent encephalopathy. The patient was considered for a colonic exclusion procedure for the management of intractable encephalopathy. However, branched amino acid therapy was instituted as a last measure before the contemplated surgery, and the patient's encephalopathy responded in dramatic fashion, and she remained free from encephalopathy during a prolonged follow-up.