Reye's syndrome

Reye’s syndrome

Reye’s syndrome is an infrequent but damaging serious condition in which swelling in liver and brain occurs. Usually it affects children and teenagers who are recovering from any viral infection. Some researchers have linked aspirin with reye’s syndrome.


Patients of Reyes syndrome presents after about three to five days of the onset of viral infection such as flu or chicken pox. Symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Breathing become rapid
  • Vomiting which become continuous and persistent
  • Increase lethargy
  • Irrational and aggressive behaviour
  • Delusions and hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Variable level of consciousness
  • Paralysis or weakness of one arm or leg

Although the exact cause of this syndrome is not known. Many factors are thought to play the role in it’s development. Some triggering factors of this syndrome are aspirin to cure  viral illnesses especially influenza and chicken pox. Aspirin cause Reyes syndrome in those teenagers and children who have ongoing fatty acid oxidation disorder.


Reyes syndrome can be complicated into severe brain damage and can also lead to the death of patient.


Diagnosis usually depends upon detailed medical history and complete general physical examination of the patient. Along with this other tests are also suggestive of diagnosis like:

  • Lumber puncture
  • Liver biopsy
  • Skin biopsy
  • CT scan, MRI and other imaging tests

Reye’s syndrome patients are treated in hospitals to closely monitor child’s blood pressure and other vitals. Some specific treatment options include:

  • Intravenous glucose and electrolyte solution
  • Diuretics to decrease raised intracranial pressure
  • Medication to combat and prevent bleeding
  • Cool blankets
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