Reye syndrome

Definition of Reye syndrome

Reye syndrome is sudden (acute) brain damage (encephalopathy) and liver function problems of unknown cause.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Reye syndrome is most often seen in children ages 4 – 12. Most cases that occur with chickenpox are in children ages 5 – 9. Cases that occur with the flu (influenzae type B) are usually in children ages 10 – 14.

Symptoms

Reye syndrome often begins with vomiting, which lasts 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.

Signs and tests

The following tests may be used to diagnose Reye syndrome:

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).

Expectations (prognosis)

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

Review

Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 7/26/2010

Digestive system organs

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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