ABC Medical Center > Reye’s syndrome

What is Reye’s syndrome?

21:55 - 4 May , 2021


It is a low-incidence serious pathology that causes brain and liver inflammation in children and adolescents in the process of recovering from a viral infection, mainly flu or chickenpox.

It also causes glucose levels to decrease and the ammonia and acidity blood levels to increase. So far it is unknown what triggers Reye’s syndrome, but studies show that taking aspirin to treat viral infection symptoms and suffering from fatty acid oxidation disorders are determining factors for its appearance.

Although exposure to certain toxins (herbicides, solvents, and insecticides) produce symptoms similar to those of Reye’s syndrome, they are not the direct cause of this pathology.

Signs and symptoms Reye’s syndrome

Symptoms manifest three days after the appearance of a viral infection or a cold:

First signs Children under 2 years old:

  • Persistent episodes of diarrhea.
  • Respiratory agitation.

Children older than 2 years and adolescents:

  • Continuous tiredness and drowsiness.
  • Continuous vomiting.

As Reye’s syndrome gets stronger, serious symptoms and signs arise, such as:

  • Hallucinations, confusion, or disorientation.
  • Exhaustion.
  • Aggressiveness.
  • Irritability.
  • Seizures.
  • Weak or paralyzed arms and legs.
  • Unconsciousness.
  • Loss of consciousness.

The latter represents a medical emergency, so go immediately to the ABC Medical Center Emergency Room, as your child’s life is in danger. Accurate and timely diagnosis and treatment make a difference.

Potential risks:

  • Permanent brain damage.
  • Death.

Diagnosis and treatment Reye’s syndrome

Once your doctor analyzes the child’s symptoms and medical history, they will perform a physical examination and blood and urine tests to detect fatty acid oxidation disorders and other metabolic abnormalities, as well as the following tests to assess if there is hepatic and neurological damage: 

  • Liver and skin biopsy.
  • Lumbar puncture.
  • MRI.
  • Computed tomography.

Reye’s syndrome requires hospitalization to check blood pressure and monitor other vital signs, in addition to the following: 

  • Diuretic.
  • Drugs to prevent bleeding.
  • Cooling blankets.
  • Intravenous medications and fluids.
  • Ventilator.

At the Pediatric Center, we provide specialized care to small patients from the moment of birth until they become adults, through our pediatric care, oncology, neurology, and cardiology services at the level of the best medical centers in the world.



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