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Reye Syndrome

Abstract

You are reading a NORD Rare Disease Report Abstract. NORD’s full collection of reports on over 1200 rare diseases is available to subscribers (click here for details). We are now also offering two full rare disease reports per day to visitors on our Web site.

NORD is very grateful to James E. Heubi, MD, Professor and Associate Chair for Clinical Research of Pediatrics, Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research, Children's Hospital Medical Center /University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, for assistance in the preparation of this report. \

Synonyms of Reye Syndrome

  • Fatty Liver with Encephalopathy
  • Reye's Syndrome
  • RS

Disorder Subdivisions

  • No subdivisions found.

General Discussion

Reye syndrome is a rare disorder of childhood and adolescence. It primarily affects individuals under 18 years of age, particularly children from approximately age four to 12 years. In rare cases, infants or young adults may be affected. The disorder's cause is unknown. However, there appears to be an association between the onset of Reye syndrome and the use of aspirin-containing medications (salicylates) in children or adolescents with certain viral illnesses, particularly upper respiratory tract infections (e.g., influenza B) or, in some cases, chickenpox (varicella).

Although any organ system may be involved, Reye syndrome is primarily characterized by distinctive, fatty changes of the liver and sudden (acute) swelling of the brain (cerebral edema). Associated symptoms and findings may include the sudden onset of severe, persistent vomiting; elevated levels of certain liver enzymes in the blood (hepatic transaminases); unusually high amounts of ammonia in the blood (hyperammonemia); disturbances of consciousness; sudden episodes of uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain (seizures); and/or other abnormalities, leading to potentially life-threatening complications in some cases. Due to the potential association between the use of aspirin-containing agents and the development of Reye syndrome, it is advised that such medications be avoided for individuals under age 18 years who are affected by viral infections such as influenza or chickenpox.

Organizations related to Reye Syndrome

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