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What’s Reye’s syndrome? Reye-Johnson Syndrome Signs and Causes

Reye’s syndrome is a uncommon however severe illness that causes swelling within the liver and mind. It will possibly have an effect on individuals of any age, however it’s most frequently seen in kids and youngsters recovering from a virus such because the flu or chickenpox.

Research have discovered that the primary threat issue for Reye’s syndrome is taking aspirin or different associated medicine, known as salicylates.

Due to this, docs suggest that kids and youngsters recovering from viral infections ought to keep away from taking aspirin.

What Causes It?

Docs don’t totally perceive what causes Reye’s syndrome. They do know that some persons are susceptible to get it after they take aspirin for a virus.

Others have a better likelihood of getting it in the event that they:

  • Have a dysfunction that impacts how their our bodies break down fatty acids
  • Have been uncovered to sure toxins, together with paint thinners and merchandise to kill bugs and weeds

When Reye’s syndrome strikes, cells all through your physique develop into swollen and construct up fat. In flip, your blood sugar ranges drop. Ammonia and acid ranges within the blood rise. These modifications can hit many organs, such because the mind and liver, the place extreme swelling can happen.


The indicators of Reye’s usually seem 3 to five days after the beginning of a viral an infection.

In kids youthful than age 2, early signs could embody diarrhea and fast respiratory. In older kids and youngsters, early signs could embody ongoing vomiting and weird sleepiness

Because the syndrome goes on, signs can develop into extra extreme, and will embody:

  • Character modifications (extra irritable or aggressive)
  • Confusion or hallucinations
  • Weak point or incapability to maneuver arms or legs
  • Seizure or convulsions
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Lack of consciousness

Reye’s might be life-threatening. You must name 911 if you happen to see these extreme signs. Early analysis and therapy is essential.

The syndrome might be mistaken for different situations, together with meningitis (a swelling of membranes overlaying the mind and spinal wire), a diabetes response, or poisoning.


Docs don’t have a particular check for Reye’s. They often do urine and blood checks. Additionally they display screen for issues involving fatty acids.

Different checks could embody:

  • Spinal faucets (a needle is inserted into an area under the tip of the spinal wire to gather fluid)
  • Liver biopsies (a needle is pushed by way of the stomach into the liver to get a pattern of tissue)
  • Pores and skin biopsies (a health care provider scrapes a small pores and skin pattern to check)
  • CT or MRI scans (which might additionally rule out different issues)

Is There a Therapy?

There’s no single therapy that may cease Reye’s syndrome, however docs can do some issues to ensure it’s managed. They will additionally attempt to stop extra extreme signs and see that mind swelling is held down. These steps embody:

  • Intravenous (IV) fluids
  • Diuretics to assist your physique do away with salt and water (and cease swelling)
  • Medicines to forestall bleeding
  • Vitamin Okay, plasma, and platelets (tiny blood cells that assist type clots) in situations of liver bleeding

Any Lengthy-Time period Results?

As docs have gotten higher at diagnosing Reye’s syndrome shortly and early, the loss of life price has dropped from round 50% to lower than 20%. This implies most kids and youngsters who get the syndrome survive and get better fully.

How properly an individual recovers from Reye’s syndrome — and the probabilities for long-term mind injury – rely loads on how a lot the mind swells.

Circumstances that shortly worsen and result in coma usually tend to result in extra mind injury.

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