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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.
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