Reye's Syndrome - Symptoms, causes and treatment

syndrome Reye is a serious condition which can cause damage on organs heart and brain.this syndrome most afflicts children and adolescents who are recovering from viral infections, such as the flu.However, in rare cases, Reye's syndrome can also affect adults.

Reye's syndrome is thought to occur due to disruption of metabolic processes in the liver when the child is exposed to a viral infection. This can lead to a drop in blood sugar and a buildup of ammonia in the blood, which then has an impact on the brain. This condition can cause the child to have seizures and lose consciousness.

Causes of Reye's Syndrome

Reye's syndrome occurs when the mitochondria in liver cells are damaged. Mitochondria are small structures inside cells that play an important role in maintaining liver function.

Damage to the mitochondria makes the liver unable to remove toxins from the blood, such as ammonia. As a result, toxins accumulate in the blood and cause damage to all organs of the body and swelling of the brain.

It is not known what causes Reye's syndrome. However, it is suspected that the use of aspirin in virus-infected children may initiate or exacerbate liver mitochondrial damage.

In addition, the use of aspirin in adolescents who have fatty acid oxidation disorders is also suspected to trigger Reye's syndrome. Fatty acid oxidation disorder is a genetic disorder that causes the body to be unable to break down fatty acids.

Symptoms of Reye's Syndrome

Symptoms of Reye's syndrome usually appear within 3-5 days after the child has a viral infection, such as a cold, flu or chickenpox. In children under 2 years of age, Reye's Syndrome causes early symptoms in the form of:

  • Diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath

While in older children, early symptoms of Reye's syndrome can include:

  • Sluggish
  • Easily sleepy
  • Vomiting continuously

If the condition gets worse, the symptoms can become serious, such as:

  • Confused, babbling, delirious, or even hallucinating
  • Easily irritated and his behavior becomes more aggressive
  • Weakness or even paralysis in the limbs
  • Seizures
  • Decreased level of consciousness

When to go to the doctor

To prevent Reye's syndrome, do not carelessly give any medicine to a sick child, especially if he is under 16 years of age. It is recommended to take a sick child to the doctor, so that the child gets the right treatment.

Reye's syndrome is an emergency that must be treated quickly. Therefore, immediately take your child and see a doctor if he shows early symptoms of Reye's syndrome after recovering from a cold, flu, or chickenpox cough.

Take the child to the emergency room or seek medical attention if the child has a seizure or loss of consciousness.

Reye's Syndrome Diagnosis

Until now, there is still no specific method for diagnosing Reye's syndrome. Examination of blood and urine may be done to detect the presence of lipid oxidation disorders or other metabolic disorders.

In some cases, your doctor may perform tests to rule out the possibility that your symptoms are caused by another disease. Checks that can be carried out include:

  • Lumbar puncture, which is taking a sample of fluid from the brain to rule out symptoms caused by other conditions, such as inflammation of the lining of the brain (meningitis) and inflammation of the brain (encephalitis)
  • Scans with CT scans or MRIs, to detect disorders in the brain that can cause changes in the patient's behavior
  • Biopsy (tissue sampling) in the liver, to rule out other possibilities that cause liver disorders
  • Skin biopsy, to detect fatty acid oxidation disorders and other metabolic disorders

Reye's Syndrome Treatment

Until now, there is no treatment method to cure Reye's syndrome. Treatment is given only aims to reduce symptoms and prevent complications.

Reye's syndrome must be treated in a hospital. Children with severe symptoms should be admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). During treatment, the doctor will monitor heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and oxygen supply to the lungs.

Actions that can be taken by doctors are administering drugs through an infusion, including:

  • Fluids that contain sugar and electrolytes, to maintain a balance in the levels of salt, nutrients, minerals, and sugar in the blood
  • Diuretic drugs, to remove excess fluid in the body and relieve swelling in the brain
  • Transfusion of blood plasma and platelets or administration of vitamin K, to prevent bleeding due to liver disorders
  • AMonia Detoxicant, to reduce ammonia levels in the blood
  • Anticonvulsant drugs, to prevent and treat seizures

In addition to drugs, doctors will also provide breathing apparatus (ventilator) for children who have breathing problems.

Once the swelling in the brain has subsided, other body functions will return to normal within a few days. However, it can take several weeks for the child to be well enough to leave the hospital.

Complications of Reye's Syndrome

In some cases, brain swelling from Reye's syndrome can cause permanent brain damage. Other complications that may occur include:

  • Decreased memory and ability to concentrate
  • Difficulty swallowing and speaking
  • Impaired vision or hearing
  • Difficulty performing daily activities (such as getting dressed or using the bathroom)

Reye's Syndrome Prevention

As described above, Reye's syndrome is believed to be associated with aspirin use in children. Therefore, do not give aspirin to children who are sick or are recovering from viral infections, such as coughs, colds, flu and chicken pox.

Apart from aspirin, children under 16 years of age are not allowed to use any medicines that contain the following ingredients:

  • Salicylates
  • Salicylic acid
  • Salicylic Salt
  • Acetylsalicylate
  • Acetylsalicylic Acid

If your child has the flu, chickenpox, or another viral infection, take paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve fever and pain. However, it is best to administer the drug after consulting a doctor first.

Some children may have health problems that require them to take aspirin, for example in children with Kawasaki disease. In conditions like this, what can be done is as best as possible to protect children from viral infections. One way is to ensure the completeness of children's vaccines, especially the chickenpox vaccine and the annual flu vaccine.