Locations Main Campus: Chesterfield, MO 63017   |   Locations
314-434-1500 314-434-1500   |   Contact Us

Multimedia Encyclopedia


 
E-mail Form
Email Results

 
 
Print-Friendly
Bookmarks
bookmarks-menu

Reye syndrome

 

Reye syndrome is sudden (acute) brain damage and liver function problems. This condition does not have a known cause.

This syndrome has occurred in children who were given aspirin when they had chickenpox or the flu. Reye syndrome has become very rare. This is because aspirin is no longer recommended for routine use in children.

Causes

There is no known cause of Reye syndrome. It is most often seen in children ages 4 to 12. Most cases that occur with chickenpox are in children ages 5 to 9. Cases that occur with the flu are most often in children ages 10 to 14.

Symptoms

 

Children with Reye syndrome get sick very suddenly. The syndrome often begins with vomiting. It may last for many hours. The vomiting is quickly followed by irritable and aggressive behavior. As the condition gets worse, the child may be unable to stay awake and alert.

Other symptoms of Reye syndrome:

  • Confusion
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of consciousness or coma
  • Mental changes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Unusual placement of arms and legs (decerebrate posture). The arms are extended straight and turned toward the body, the legs are held straight, and the toes are pointed downward

Other symptoms that can occur with this disorder include:

  • Double vision
  • Hearing loss
  • Muscle function loss or paralysis of the arms or legs
  • Speech difficulties
  • Weakness in the arms or legs

 

Exams and Tests

 

The following tests may be used to diagnose Reye syndrome:

  • Blood chemistry tests
  • Head CT or head MRI scan
  • Liver biopsy
  • Liver function tests
  • Serum ammonia test
  • Spinal tap

 

Treatment

 

There is no specific treatment for this condition. The health care provider will monitor the pressure in the brain, blood gases, and blood acid-base balance (pH).

Treatments may include:

  • Breathing support (a breathing machine may be needed during a deep coma)
  • Fluids by IV to provide electrolytes and glucose
  • Steroids to reduce swelling in the brain

 

Outlook (Prognosis)

 

How well a person does depends on the severity of any coma, as well as other factors.

The outcome for those who survive an acute episode may be good.

 

Possible Complications

 

Complications may include:

  • Coma
  • Permanent brain damage
  • Seizures

When untreated, seizures and coma may be life threatening.

 

When to Contact a Medical Professional

 

Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) immediately if your child has:

  • Confusion
  • Lethargy
  • Other mental changes

 

Prevention

 

Never give a child aspirin unless told to do so by your provider.

When a child must take aspirin, take care to reduce the child's risk of catching a viral illness, such as the flu and chickenpox. Avoid aspirin for several weeks after the child has received a varicella (chickenpox) vaccine.

Note: Other over-the-counter medicines, such as Pepto-Bismol and substances with oil of wintergreen also contain aspirin compounds called salicylates. DO NOT give these to a child who has a cold or fever.

 

 

References

Ferri FF. Reye's syndrome. In: Ferri FF, ed. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2017. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:1104.e1-1104.e1.

Hurwitz ES. Reye's syndrome. In: Cherry JD, Demmler-Harrison G, Kaplan SL, Steinblach W, Hotez P, eds. Feigin and Cherry's Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 50.

 
  • Digestive system organs

    Digestive system organs - illustration

    The digestive system organs in the abdominal cavity include the liver, gallbladder, stomach, small intestine and large intestine.

    Digestive system organs

    illustration

    • Digestive system organs

      Digestive system organs - illustration

      The digestive system organs in the abdominal cavity include the liver, gallbladder, stomach, small intestine and large intestine.

      Digestive system organs

      illustration

    A Closer Look

     

      Talking to your MD

       

        Self Care

         

          Tests for Reye syndrome

           

             

            Review Date: 8/31/2016

            Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

            The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
            adam.com

             
             
             

             

             

            A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.



            Content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.