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