hepatic encephalopathy stage 4(?) -- anyone with experience please
A relative of mine has been diagnosed with this...He was found unconscious (though I have also been told he was combative at the time--not sure which is true) about four days ago. He was placed on a ventilator due to the fact that his breathing was very labored. He is on the standard treatment for this condition as far as I know (lactulose, antibiotics, etc) but has really shown no improvement. He has not regained consciousness but still is responsive to pain. He is also being given Atavan (a sedative)--they explained the reason for that as being that he needs to be sedated to be on the vent. They tried reducing the vent but his O2 saturation went down too low (I think that is what they said--having trouble understanding all this). He is to see the neurologist tomorrow and they will assess brain function.
I am getting the impression from the nurses that they do not expect him to improve. I am confused as to how they expect a person to "wake up" if he is constantly on sedatives. I know they have turned the sedatives down in order to try to wake him but he has so far not regained consciousness.
Im very worried and starting to lose hope that this can turn out well. Its been 4 days with no change. Is there anyone with experience with this out there? Is there hope that he will come out of this? Is it possible that he is no longer "there" and the only reason he is still with us is the vent? I keep reading this is a reversible condition but is it when you get to Stage 4? Any experiences/info would be greatly appreciated. Background is he has Hep C and cirrhosis/drinking and opiate use (pretty heavy). I am worried sick and still want to think there is hope but like I said, starting to think there isnt...Saw him just a week ago and he seemed OK; maybe a little out of it, which I never wouldve thought was the start of this, but I guess maybe it was...Feel bad I didnt notice or do anything...