Neurologic Manifestations of Acute and Chronic Liver Disease

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Purpose of Review:

This article summarizes the most common neurologic sequelae of acute and chronic liver failure, liver transplantation, and other treatments for liver disease, and outlines the pathogenesis, neurologic manifestations, and treatment of Wilson disease.

Recent Findings:

The neurologic manifestations of liver disease are caused by the liver’s failure to detoxify active compounds that have deleterious effects on the central and peripheral nervous systems. In addition, treatments for liver disease such as liver transplantation, transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt, and antiviral medications can also be neurotoxic. Wilson disease affects the liver and nervous system simultaneously and may often initially be diagnosed by a neurologist; treatment options have evolved over recent years.


Acute and chronic liver diseases are encountered commonly in the general population. Neurologic dysfunction will eventually affect a significant number of these individuals, especially if the disease progresses to liver failure. Early recognition of these neurologic manifestations can lead to more effective management of these patients.

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