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MRI findings in acute hyperammonemic encephalopathy resulting from decompensated chronic liver disease


Hyperammonemic encephalopathy is a type of metabolic encephalopathy with diversified etiology. Hyperammonemia is the end result of several metabolic disorders such as congenital deficiencies of urea cycle enzymes, hepatic encephalopathy, Reye’s syndrome and other toxic encephalopathies. Non-specific clinical presentation poses a great challenge in early diagnosis of this entity. Irrespective of the underlying etiology, hyperammonemia causes a distinctive pattern of brain parenchymal injury. The cingulate gyrus and insular cortex are more vulnerable to this type of toxic insult. Characteristic magnetic resonance imaging findings in combination with laboratory parameters can help to differentiate this entity from other metabolic encephalopathy and thus aiding in early diagnosis and treatment.

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Correspondence to Jyoti Sureka.

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Sureka, J., Jakkani, R.K. & Panwar, S. MRI findings in acute hyperammonemic encephalopathy resulting from decompensated chronic liver disease. Acta Neurol Belg 112, 221–223 (2012).

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  • Hyperammonemia
  • MRI
  • Diffusion weighting imaging
  • MRS
  • Glutamate
  • Cingulate gyrus