Seizure disorder exacerbated by hepatic encephalopathy: A case report

Aneesa R. Chowdhury, Erin N. Marcus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Hepatic encephalopathy is a serious complication of cirrhosis that presents with a variety of neuropsychiatric abnormalities, including disorientation, asterixis, and coma. Seizures are an uncommon and potentially dangerous complication of hepatic encephalopathy. We present a unique case of a 42-year-old female with a history of well-controlled seizure disorder suddenly become refractory to anticonvulsant therapy following the development of hepatic encephalopathy secondary to liver decompensation. CASE PRESENTATION: A 42-year-old female presented to our hospital following a seizure accompanied by loss of consciousness, urinary incontinence, and the prolonged postictal state. She reports her seizures were initially well-controlled with Levetiracetam 500 mg twice a day but recently began experiencing seizures every other day despite up-titration of Levetiracetam to 1500 mg twice a day over a few weeks. On arrival, her serum ammonia level was 116 μmol/L. CT brain was negative while CT liver was consistent with cirrhotic morphology. An electroencephalogram revealed irregular, diffuse, delta/theta slowing consistent with mild to moderate encephalopathy. The patient was started on lactulose 40mg and Rifaximin 550 mg twice a day. Her symptoms of disorientation and lethargy resolved over 3 days. CONCLUSION: Though uncommon, hepatic encephalopathy should be considered in patients presenting with convulsions, especially if there is a known history of liver disease. Until the underlying liver issues are addressed, patients may not respond to traditional anti-convulsant therapy for their seizures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1669-1671
Number of pages3
JournalOpen Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2019


  • Cirrhosis
  • Hepatic encephalopathy
  • Seizures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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