Reye's Syndrome (cont.)

Is there any treatment?

There is no cure for RS. Successful management, which depends on early diagnosis, is primarily aimed at protecting the brain against irreversible damage by reducing brain swelling, reversing the metabolic injury, preventing complications in the lungs, and anticipating cardiac arrest. It has been learned that several inborn errors of metabolism mimic RS in that the first manifestation of these errors may be an encephalopathy with liver dysfunction. These disorders must be considered in all suspected cases of RS. Some evidence suggests that treatment in the end stages of RS with hypertonic IV glucose solutions may prevent progression of the syndrome.

What is the prognosis?

Recovery from RS is directly related to the severity of the swelling of the brain. Some people recover completely, while others may sustain varying degrees of brain damage. Those cases in which the disorder progresses rapidly and the patient lapses into a coma have a poorer prognosis than those with a less severe course. Statistics indicate that when RS is diagnosed and treated in its early stages, chances of recovery are excellent. When diagnosis and treatment are delayed, the chances for successful recovery and survival are severely reduced. Unless RS is diagnosed and treated successfully, death is common, often within a few days.

What research is being done?

Much of the research on RS focuses on answering fundamental questions about the disorder such as how problems in the body's metabolism may trigger the nervous system damage characteristic of RS and what role aspirin plays in this life-threatening disorder. The ultimate goal of this research is to improve scientific understanding, diagnosis and medical treatment of RS.

SOURCE:

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health


Last Editorial Review: 9/25/2009 7:08:56 PM