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Reye's Syndrome

Though the occurrence of Reye's Syndrome is rare, it is a potentially life-threatening condition. Typically, a patient suffering from Reye's syndrome has elevated levels of ammonia and acidity in the blood and reduced blood sugar levels. There is swelling in the liver and in serious cases in the brain. This can lead to a comatose condition. Usually this syndrome occurs in children under 15 years; though there has been a substantial decrease in the number of cases. Usage of aspirin to treat a viral infection is thought to be one of the factors that triggers Reye's syndrome in children and teenagers. Often Reye's syndrome is confused with meningitis, encephalitis or mental illness. It is essential to treat this condition in the early stages, lest it lead to permanent brain damage. Usually Reye's Syndrome is preceded by a viral illness. The symptoms of Reye's syndrome are nausea, rapid breathing, unusual sleepiness and lethargy. Other symptoms are persistent vomiting and diarrhea. The affected child might exhibit bizarre behavior. In a matter of a few hours, the condition can worsen and there can be seizures or convulsions and loss of consciousness. There may be muscle function loss or paralysis of the arms or legs.

A child affected by Reye's Syndrome must be given adequate fluids and electrolytes. It is essential There must be balanced and nutritional food. If there is difficulty in breathing, a respirator can provide relief. Medication is given to reduce intracranial pressure. Avoid food that upsets the child's stomach and try and keep the fever under control. A variety of diagnostic tools ranging from head CT Scan or MRI to spinal tap (lumbar puncture) and liver biopsy can help in detecting Reye's syndrome. In addition to blood and urine tests, a spinal tap is conducted to rule out meningitis or encephalitis. Liver biopsy is useful in ruling out diseases of the liver.


Hepatomegaly refers to abnormal swelling of the liver. On palpation of the right side of the abdomen, if the liver extends below the ribs, it indicates an enlarged liver. Hepatitis indicates general inflammation of the liver. If both the liver and spleen are enlarged, the condition is called Hepatosplenomegaly.

Possible causes of Hepatomegaly include:

Most people suffering Hepatomegaly do not have any noticeable symptoms. Some experience fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and pain on the right side of the abdomen. Diagnostic tests such as abdominal ultrasound, Liver Function Test and abdomen MRI are suggested.

Tags: #Reye's Syndrome #Hepatomegaly
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: December 7, 2022