My husband also has cirrhosis and his stomach is also bloated. This has been this way for two years or longer... I was wondering what elevated ammonia levels indicate??? Please help. ~beth
Elevated ammonia can cause a toxic build up in his brain. Symptoms include Hepatic encephalopathy is a major neuropsychiatric complication of chronic liver disease that occurs when large amounts of ammonia accumulate within brain tissues. Ammonia is normally produced by the breakdown of protein in the bowel, and in healthy individuals it is metabolized by the liver to form urea. In patients with significant portal hypertension, blood cannot pass into the liver and the ammonia enters the systemic circulation where it enters brain tissues. Hepatic encephalopathy and its final stage, hepatic coma, occur in 4 stages.
In the first stage, the patient may exhibit mild confusion, mood changes, inability to concentrate, sleep disturbances, and mild asterixis: rapid involuntary flapping of the wrists, also known as "liver flap."
In stage two, the patient experiences confusion, apathy, aberrant behavior, asterixis and apraxia: problems in carrying out familiar, purposeful movements.
Stage three is characterized by severe confusion, incoherence, diminished responsiveness to verbal stimuli, and hyperactive deep tendon reflexes.
Hepatic coma occurs in the last stage: the patient has no reaction to painful stimuli, no corneal reflex, dilated pupils, and assumes the flexion or extension posture characteristic of severe brain damage.
Correcting pH and electrolyte disturbances, restricting dietary protein, preventing constipation, and preventing gastrointestinal bleeding are methods used to treat hepatic encephalopathy in its early stages. When bleeding occurs in the gastrointestinal tract, bacterial action creates increased ammonia. Sterilizing the bowel by giving neomycin, a drug that is poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, may prevent ammonia formation by decreasing bacterial counts.
LACTULOSE AND LACTOBACILUS GG (prebiotic and probiotic) should be given to help contain ammonia in the gastrointestinal tract where it can be excreted in the feces.
A bloated stomach is often caused by something called ascites. It is a buildup of fluids and can be very serious if the fluid gets infected or it causes the stomach to swell so much it leans on other organs such as the lungs. It will not go away on it's own. I hope he is seeing a doctor about this.
I have cirrhosis also and my stomach and nody blew up with fluid. I had to have my stomach tapped several timrs. It does return. Its bc of the disease.