Fetor Hepaticus

Fetor Hepaticus Treatment

The most common form of liver disease is cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is caused by damage to the liver cells, which results in scarring and fibrosis (hardening). Scar tissue blocks blood flow to the liver causing it to become enlarged and fail to function properly.

The scar tissue can block or interfere with normal functions such as digestion, breathing, and circulation. Eventually, the liver becomes so damaged that it cannot perform its normal functions and begins to shut down. Liver failure occurs when there are no longer enough healthy liver cells left to keep the body functioning normally. The condition is irreversible if not treated immediately.

There are two types of cirrhosis: primary and secondary. Primary cirrhosis is due to genetic factors, while secondary cirrhosis is due to other causes such as alcohol abuse, hepatitis B virus infection, certain medications, radiation therapy for cancer treatments, and some drugs.

Primary cirrhosis affects approximately 1% of the population over their lifetime. Secondary cirrhosis affects about 0.5%.

There is no cure for either type of liver disease. Treatment options are limited to treating the cause of the disease and preventing future damage. In some cases, a liver transplant may be necessary.

Fetor Hepaticus Life Expectancy

The life expectancy for patients suffering from liver failure is greatlyreduced when compared with the general population. The causes of liver failure are not readily reversible and most of the time, can only be identified in later stages. In some cases, patients are not diagnosed with liver disease until their health has seriously declined.

The life expectancy without a liver transplant is between six months and four years. With a liver transplant, the life expectancy increases to five to ten years.

Fetor Hepaticus Encephalopathy

Hepatic encephalopathy is caused by an accumulation of toxins in the blood. It can be a side effect of liver damage due to a number of reasons such as alcohol abuse, blocked bile ducts, or certain drugs. In these cases, the liver is not able to eliminate the toxic substances from the body effectively.

These toxins are then able to cross the blood-brain barrier and get into the brain. This causes the brain to become inflamed, interfering with normal brain activity and function.

Fetor hepaticus encephalopathy is a chronic and degenerative disease. Its symptoms range from mild confusion or drowsiness to severe mental disturbances and coma. The onset of the disease is also very rapid and subtle, making it difficult to detect without proper testing.

The exact cause of fetor hepaticus encephalopathy is not known, though several risk factors have been identified. These include old age, long-term alcohol abuse, or the use of specific medications. The disease is more common in men than in women and most cases are seen in those over the age of 40.

The long-term outlook for patients suffering from liver diseases is not very good. Most cases are identified too late for corrective treatment to be effective. In some cases, an early diagnosis means that medical intervention can slow down the disease and increase the patient’s life span.


Liver transplants are often the only way to halt liver failure and cirrhosis. Liver transplants can restore normal liver function in patients suffering from liver diseases.

A liver transplant involves surgically removing the patient’s diseased liver and replacing it with a healthy donor liver. As of now, there is a severe shortage of livers available for transplant, so patients may have to wait for a suitable liver to become available.

The eventual outcome after a liver transplant depends on whether the patient’s original disease (such as cirrhosis or hepatitis) has damaged other vital organs. In addition, patients with additional medical conditions (such as kidney failure) further decrease their chance of survival.

An artificial or bioartificial liver (ALS) may become a viable treatment option for patients suffering from liver disease in the future. The ALS is a device that attempts to filter, store, and transfer blood in a manner similar to the way the liver does.

The device consists of a special polymer with chemical constituents that allow it to mimic the chemical reactions of a healthy liver. The system requires tubes to be connected to the patient’s arm so that blood can be passed through the device. Blood is pumped out of the body and into the machine through one arm, passed through the device, and returned to the body via the other arm.

The long-term effects and effectiveness of this experimental treatment are not yet known.

An alkaline diet in combination with vitamin supplements may be helpful in slowing the damage done by liver disease.

Living With Liver Disease

A liver transplant can halt the damage done by liver diseases such as cirrhosis or hepatitis. Since there are never enough livers available for transplant, patients may have to wait for months or even years before a liver becomes available. In the meantime, the diseased liver continues to slowly destroy the rest of the body.

For many patients, ongoing treatment will be needed to manage their disease. This may include a combination of drug therapies and lifestyle changes.

Liver disease in general and liver cancer in particular are often fatal. There is no cure for either disease at this time.

Sources & references used in this article:

Fetor hepaticus: its clinical significance and attempts at chemical isolation by HR Butt, HL Mason – Gastroenterology, 1954 – Elsevier

Hepatic encephalopathy by AM Hoyumpa Jr, PV Desmond, GR Avant, RK Roberts… – Gastroenterology, 1979 – Elsevier

GC–MS analysis of breath odor compounds in liver patients by S Van den Velde, F Nevens, D van Steenberghe… – … of Chromatography B, 2008 – Elsevier

Exhaled breath analysis: the new frontier in medical testing by RA Dweik, A Amann – Journal of breath research, 2008 – iopscience.iop.org

Breath and blood ammonia in liver cirrhosis. by C Shimamoto, I Hirata, K Katsu – Hepato-gastroenterology, 2000 – europepmc.org