Reye's Syndrome

  • Medical Author:
    David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP

    Dr. Perlstein received his Medical Degree from the University of Cincinnati and then completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at The New York Hospital, Cornell medical Center in New York City. After serving an additional year as Chief Pediatric Resident, he worked as a private practitioner and then was appointed Director of Ambulatory Pediatrics at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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What is the prognosis for Reye's syndrome?

There is significant variation in outlook amongst children diagnosed with Reye's syndrome. It is dependent upon the severity and progression of the disease. Some children may have mild disease and completely recover, and others may develop permanent dysfunction of the brain or die from the disease. In general, children who are diagnosed and treated early in the course of the illness have better outcomes. Studies also suggest that those presenting with high ammonia levels have a worse prognosis.

Is it possible to prevent Reye's syndrome?

Although we do not know how to completely prevent Reye's syndrome, we do know that reducing aspirin use in children has resulted in a decrease in the incidence of the illness. In 1980, there were over 500 cases of Reye's syndrome in the United States, and now there are only one to two cases per year. Similar statistics have been seen in the United Kingdom, as well.

What research is being done on Reye's syndrome?

Most research that is being done focuses on understanding what the triggers are for Reye's syndrome and how aspirin is involved in the disease. In addition, some are trying to determine why some patients progress rapidly and some cases simply resolve.

Where can I find more information about Reye's syndrome?

National Reye Syndrome Foundation


Glasgow, J.F. and B. Middleton. "Reye's Syndrome -- Insights on Causation and Prognosis." Arch Dis Child 85.5 (2001): 351-353.

Pugliese, A., T. Beltramo, and D. Torre. "Reye's and Reye's-like Syndromes." Cell Biochem Function 26 (2008): 741-746.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/28/2016

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  • Reye's Syndrome - Experience and Concerns

    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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