metabolic encephalopathy

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met·a·bol·ic en·ceph·a·lop·a·thy

coma or its precursors resulting from a diffuse abnormality of cerebral neuronal or glial cell metabolism. Primary metabolic encephalopathy is due to any of the degenerative cerebral disorders that culminate in coma; secondary metabolic encephalopathy results when brain metabolism is disturbed by extracerebral disorders causing intoxication, electrolyte imbalances, or nutritional deficiencies, for example, hepatic or renal disease or exogenous poisons.

met·a·bol·ic en·ceph·a·lop·a·thy

(met'ă-bol'ik en-sef'ă-lop'ă-thē)
Encephalopathy characterized by memory loss, vertigo, and generalized weakness, due to metabolic brain disease including hypoxia, ischemia, hypoglycemia, or secondary to other organ failure such as the liver or kidney.

metabolic encephalopathy

An alteration of brain function or consciousness due to failure of other internal organs. In the hospital, metabolic encephalopathy is among the most common causes of altered mental status. Renal failure, liver injury, electrolyte or acid-base abnormalities, hypoxia, hypercarbia, and inadequate brain perfusion caused by a failing heart are but some of the medical conditions that may produce treatable encephalopathies.


Confusion, irritability, seizures, and coma are common findings.

See also: encephalopathy


pertaining to internal metabolism.

metabolic acidemia
acidemia due to metabolic error.
metabolic bone disease
includes a range of bone diseases associated with metabolic diseases, e.g. secondary hyperparathyroidism, rickets and osteoporosis.
metabolic defect
generally an inherited defect that is present at birth, but which is not necessarily evident clinically for several months afterwards. The defect creates a metabolic error, which leads to the accumulation of end products which cause clinical signs, e.g. mannosidosis, porphyria or an exaggerated response from an end-organ, e.g. inherited goiter. See also inborn error of metabolism.
metabolic diseases
diseases in which normal metabolic processes are disturbed and a resulting absence or shortfall of a normal metabolite causes disease, e.g. hypocalcemia in cows, or an accumulation of the end products of metabolism causes a clinical illness, e.g. acetonemia of dairy cows. Many diseases in this group really have their beginnings in a nutritional deficiency state. See also production diseases.
metabolic encephalopathy
many disorders of metabolism can lead to neurologic abnormalities through alterations in electrolytes and acid-base balance, accumulation of endogenous toxins. See also encephalopathy.
metabolic error
see metabolic defect (above).
metabolic inhibition technique
a virus neutralization test in tissue culture in which phenol-red indicator is used to detect the acid metabolic products of actively metabolizing cells or the lack of metabolism when cells are infected and destroyed by the virus.
metabolic laminitis
metabolic myopathies
muscular dystrophies caused by metabolic defects; include systemic glycogenoses, deposits of a PAS-positive glycoprotein, the lipid storage disease of cats caused by carnitine deficiency.
metabolic pathways
groupings of enzymic processes leading to the synthesis or breakdown of carbohydrates, amino acids and lipids.
metabolic polymyopathy
a muscle disease associated with a metabolic disorder, e.g. hyperadrenocorticism.
metabolic polyneuropathy
a disease of the nerves associated with a metabolic disorder, e.g. uremia, diabetes mellitus or hypothyroidism.
metabolic profile
results of a spectrum of tests of metabolic functions.
metabolic profile test
metabolic rate
the rate of energy metabolism in the body. The basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the rate of energy consumption by the body when it is completely at rest.
metabolic syndrome
characterized by hypertension, insulin resistance, an abnormal plasma lipid profile, and obesity.
metabolic toxins
include histamine, other toxic amines, ketone bodies, phenols and cresols from the large intestine, which are normal end-products of metabolism and indigestion but if their normal excretion and detoxication are impeded, cause intoxication. See also toxin.
metabolic water
the water produced in the body by oxidative metabolism of food; it represents 5-10% of the body's water utilization.
References in periodicals archive ?
Emergency empirical management of a child with metabolic encephalopathy can significantly reduce morbidity, pending confirmation of the diagnosis by specialised investigations.
Clinicians in South Africa need to rely on a high level of clinical awareness, combined with a low threshold for ordering basic metabolic investigations, to effectively diagnose and treat patients presenting with potential metabolic encephalopathy.
Pathologic findings in a zebu with spongiform encephalopathy, Switzerland, 2004 Site Finding Vertebral column Severe degeneration of intervertebral discs with ankylosing spondylarthrosis Joints of extremities Degenerative joint disease Liver Biliary cysts (affecting 60% of the liver) Kidney Tubular cysts; mild interstitial nephritis with glomerulosclerosis and tubular atrophy Urinary bladder Multiple papillomas Abdominal cavity Multiple foci of fat necrosis Cardiovascular system Mild coronary arteriosclerosis; mild valvular endocardiosis (mitral valve) Mediastinal lymph nodes Focal metastatic neuroendocrine tumor (origin unknown) Central nervous system Spongiform encephalopathy; metabolic encephalopathy (hepatoencephalopathy) Table 2.
These type of patients have the risk of being misdiagnosed as metabolic encephalopathy and may require repeated hospitalizations if hypopituitarism is missed.

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