Reye Syndrome (cont.)

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How do health-care professionals diagnose Reye's syndrome?

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 where they can be managed by doctors who specialize in the care of critically ill children. In this setting, they can be 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.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/28/2016

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Reye's Syndrome - Experience and Concerns Question: Do you avoid taking aspirin and giving it to your children for fear of developing Reye's syndrome? Please share your concerns.
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