EU policymakers have been urged to do more to tackle a little known disease called hepatic encephalopathy, a brain dysfunction and complication of liver cirrhosis. The demand coincides with publication a report which highlights the “significant burden” of hepatic encephalopathy on patients, their carers, families and society.
The launch took place in the European Parliament in an event hosted by UK MEP Anneliese Dodds and the European Liver Patients Association (ELPA).
It was designed to raise awareness of hepatic encephalopathy, a potentially life-threatening neuropsychiatric condition associated with liver disease.
Hepatic encephalopathy remains underdiagnosed and under-treated, resulting in poor quality of life for patients and a high burden on those who care for them, the event was told.
The report, called “Time to DeLiver: Getting a Grip on HE”, was authored by clinical and patient association experts from across Europe.
It highlights ten “calls to action” which are said to be “critical” to improve the identification, treatment and management of hepatic encephalopathy.
Tatjana Reic, President of ELPA said, “This report represents a very important milestone in the treatment of this debilitating condition, which affects thousands of people in Europe each year.
“For too long, people living with hepatic encephalopathy have been misdiagnosed and overlooked by healthcare systems.
“This report is clearly setting out the standards of care that need to be in place to manage this condition, and we are looking forward to working with governments and patient associations across Europe to help improve the management of this condition.”
“This report is a turning point. I hope that my colleagues in the European Parliament can help implement the report’s calls to action which will help to recognise the importance of hepatic encephalopathy and improve its treatment,” commented Anneliese Dodds, an MEP for the South East of England.
By Martin Banks