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Reye Syndrome


Reye syndrome is a serious condition that can cause injury to your child's brain, liver, or other organs. The cause is unknown. Your child may develop Reye syndrome after a viral infection such as the flu or chickenpox. Your child's risk for Reye syndrome is increased if he takes medicine that contains aspirin or salicylates. Reye syndrome most commonly happens to children 4 to 14 years of age.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.


  • Intake and output will be measured. Healthcare providers will keep track of the amount of liquid your child is getting. They also may need to know how much he is urinating. Ask healthcare providers if they need to measure or collect your child's urine. He may need a Foley catheter, a tube that is put into his bladder to drain urine. Do not pull on or kink the catheter. Do not lift the bag that is connected to the catheter above your child's waist. This could make the urine flow back into his bladder and cause an infection.
  • A neurological exam , or neuro checks, show healthcare providers your child's brain function. They will check how his pupils react to light. They may check his memory and how easily he wake ups. His hand grasp and balance may also be tested.
  • An arterial line is an IV that continuously monitors your child's blood pressure.
  • A central line (CVP) is an IV catheter or tube. It is put into a large blood vessel near your child's neck, groin, or collarbone. The CVP line may be used to give medicines, draw blood, or to check your child's heart.
  • An intracranial pressure (ICP) monitor checks for brain swelling. An ICP monitor is a small tube that is put through the bones of your child's skull. The tube is connected to a monitor, which shows the pressure inside your child's head.


  • Steroids decrease swelling in your child's brain.
  • Diuretics help your child's body get rid of extra fluid. This can help decrease swelling in his brain and prevent damage.
  • Vitamin K helps prevent bleeding. It may be given as an injection.


  • Blood tests check your child's liver function, electrolyte levels, and blood sugar levels. Examples of electrolytes include potassium, calcium, and sodium.
  • Blood gases: These tests are also called arterial blood gases (ABGs). Blood is taken from an artery usually in your child's wrist. ABGs may be done if your child has trouble breathing or other problems caused by his illness.
  • CT or MRI pictures may show swelling in your child's brain. Your child may be given contrast liquid to help his brain tissue show up better in the pictures. Tell his healthcare provider if he has ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not let your child enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell his healthcare provider if he has any metal in or on his body.
  • A lumbar puncture, or spinal tap, may show infection and inflammation in the fluid that surrounds your child's brain and spinal cord. A needle is inserted into your child's spine and a sample of fluid is taken. The sample is sent to a lab and tested.
  • A liver biopsy removes a sample of your child's liver. It is sent to the lab and tested for liver problems caused by Reye syndrome.


  • IV fluids help keep your child hydrated. He may be given IV fluids with sugar and electrolytes.
  • A platelet or plasma transfusion may be given to treat or prevent bleeding.
  • A nasogastric tube (NGT) removes air or fluid from your child's stomach. It may also be used to feed your child if he has problems eating through his mouth. An NGT is put in your child's nose and gently inserted until it is in his stomach. Do not let your child pull on the NGT. Tell a healthcare provider if the tube comes out of your child's nose.
  • An endotracheal tube is a soft plastic tube placed in your child's mouth and into his trachea (windpipe). It may be connected to a breathing machine called a ventilator to help your child breathe.
  • A drain removes fluid from around your child's brain. This will help decrease the pressure in your child's head.
  • Dialysis is a procedure that removes fluid, salts, and waste from your child's body.


Reye syndrome may cause heavy bleeding, seizures, or problems with your child's breathing. It may also cause heart and liver problems. Some problems may become permanent or life-threatening.


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.