Disease: Reye's Syndrome

    Reye's syndrome facts

    • Reye's syndrome is a rare and severe illness affecting children.
    • Reye's syndrome is associated with viral infection and aspirin use.
    • Patients with Reye's syndrome present with vomiting and mental-status changes.
    • Diagnosing Reye's syndrome primarily depends on the clinical history of symptoms.
    • The most common abnormal laboratory tests with Reye's syndrome include elevated liver enzymes, elevated ammonia levels, and low serum glucose levels.
    • Treatment is supportive, and even with treatment severe cases result in permanent brain damage and death.
    • Since educating parents about the dangers of aspirin use, the incidence of Reye's syndrome has decreased markedly.

    What is Reye's syndrome?

    Reye's syndrome is a rare but often severe and even fatal illness that primarily occurs in children and adolescents. Children diagnosed with Reye's syndrome generally present with vomiting and mental-status changes. The illness can resolve spontaneously or progress to coma and death. Although the cause is still unclear, studies have identified that there is a relationship between some viral infections and the use of aspirin medications. The CDC recommended educating parents about the dangers of treating children with aspirin in the 1980s, and now the disease occurs very rarely. The syndrome was initially described in 1963 by Dr. Ralph Douglas Reye.

    What causes Reye's syndrome?

    Although there has been extensive research into the cause of Reye's syndrome, it is still not completely understood. As mentioned above, the use of aspirin or aspirin-containing medications to treat children with some viral infections including chickenpox, influenza, and gastroenteritis has been shown to be associated with the development of the disease. Ultimately, the causes of symptoms associated with Reye's syndrome relate to dysfunction of the liver and a resultant increase in serum ammonia levels and other toxins. These toxins cause increased pressure in the brain and swelling, leading to brain dysfunction and can progress to death.

    What are risk factors for Reye's syndrome?

    Most children diagnosed with Reye's syndrome have a history of a recent viral infection. Chickenpox and influenza are identified most often, though rotavirus (a cause of bowel inflammation or gastroenteritis) has also been described. In addition to the recent viral infection, most have a history of taking aspirin to control fever. Some researchers have suggested that children with undiagnosed metabolic disorders may also be at risk, though this is not completely clear.

    What are Reye's syndrome symptoms and signs?

    The primary symptoms of Reye syndrome include uncontrolled vomiting and mental status changes. These symptoms are generally the result of increased intracranial pressure and brain swelling. If untreated and progressive, the disease is fatal. Even if identified and treated early, some patients will still have progressive disease resulting in death or permanent brain damage.

    How is Reye's syndrome diagnosed?

    The diagnosis of Reye's syndrome is made clinically. That is, it is considered in any child who presents with unexplained brain dysfunction (encephalopathy), vomiting, and liver dysfunction. A history of a recent viral infection and aspirin use certainly supports the diagnosis. In general, laboratory studies that reveal an increase in liver enzymes and ammonia levels and marked decreases in serum glucose (hypoglycemia) are supportive of the diagnosis. However, it should be noted that other metabolic disorders can present with similar symptoms.

    What is the treatment for Reye's syndrome?

    Unfortunately, there is no absolutely effective treatment for Reye's syndrome. Primarily the treatment is aimed at decreasing the effects of the metabolic dysfunction. Patients with Reye's syndrome are admitted to an intensive-care unit and monitored for a worsening neurologic and metabolic condition. The primary goal is to manage electrolyte imbalances and brain swelling. It is difficult to predict which patients will have a progressive illness, however some recommend using medications aimed at lowering the serum ammonia level (ammonia is known be one cause of increased brain swelling). In addition, in some cases of progressive and resistant Reye's syndrome, hemodialysis has also been used to remove toxins believed to be partly responsible for the brain swelling.

    What causes Reye's syndrome?

    Although there has been extensive research into the cause of Reye's syndrome, it is still not completely understood. As mentioned above, the use of aspirin or aspirin-containing medications to treat children with some viral infections including chickenpox, influenza, and gastroenteritis has been shown to be associated with the development of the disease. Ultimately, the causes of symptoms associated with Reye's syndrome relate to dysfunction of the liver and a resultant increase in serum ammonia levels and other toxins. These toxins cause increased pressure in the brain and swelling, leading to brain dysfunction and can progress to death.

    What are risk factors for Reye's syndrome?

    Most children diagnosed with Reye's syndrome have a history of a recent viral infection. Chickenpox and influenza are identified most often, though rotavirus (a cause of bowel inflammation or gastroenteritis) has also been described. In addition to the recent viral infection, most have a history of taking aspirin to control fever. Some researchers have suggested that children with undiagnosed metabolic disorders may also be at risk, though this is not completely clear.

    What are Reye's syndrome symptoms and signs?

    The primary symptoms of Reye syndrome include uncontrolled vomiting and mental status changes. These symptoms are generally the result of increased intracranial pressure and brain swelling. If untreated and progressive, the disease is fatal. Even if identified and treated early, some patients will still have progressive disease resulting in death or permanent brain damage.

    How is Reye's syndrome diagnosed?

    The diagnosis of Reye's syndrome is made clinically. That is, it is considered in any child who presents with unexplained brain dysfunction (encephalopathy), vomiting, and liver dysfunction. A history of a recent viral infection and aspirin use certainly supports the diagnosis. In general, laboratory studies that reveal an increase in liver enzymes and ammonia levels and marked decreases in serum glucose (hypoglycemia) are supportive of the diagnosis. However, it should be noted that other metabolic disorders can present with similar symptoms.

    What is the treatment for Reye's syndrome?

    Unfortunately, there is no absolutely effective treatment for Reye's syndrome. Primarily the treatment is aimed at decreasing the effects of the metabolic dysfunction. Patients with Reye's syndrome are admitted to an intensive-care unit and monitored for a worsening neurologic and metabolic condition. The primary goal is to manage electrolyte imbalances and brain swelling. It is difficult to predict which patients will have a progressive illness, however some recommend using medications aimed at lowering the serum ammonia level (ammonia is known be one cause of increased brain swelling). In addition, in some cases of progressive and resistant Reye's syndrome, hemodialysis has also been used to remove toxins believed to be partly responsible for the brain swelling.

    Source: http://www.rxlist.com

    Although there has been extensive research into the cause of Reye's syndrome, it is still not completely understood. As mentioned above, the use of aspirin or aspirin-containing medications to treat children with some viral infections including chickenpox, influenza, and gastroenteritis has been shown to be associated with the development of the disease. Ultimately, the causes of symptoms associated with Reye's syndrome relate to dysfunction of the liver and a resultant increase in serum ammonia levels and other toxins. These toxins cause increased pressure in the brain and swelling, leading to brain dysfunction and can progress to death.

    Source: http://www.rxlist.com

    Health Services in

    Define Common Diseases

    Skincare Health Center helps you find information, definitaions and treatement options for most common diseases, sicknesses, illnesses and medical conditions. Find what diseases you have quick and now.