The Child Killing Reyes Syndrome And What You Need To KnowThe Child Killing Reyes Syndrome And What You Need To Know

One of the great mysterious diseases of our time is Reye's syndrome. This potentially fatal disease has a nasty habit of attacking some of the most important organs in the body, like the liver, not to mention the brain. It has also been known to cause hypoglycemia. Exactly what causes Reye's syndrome is unknown, and even though it has been associated with aspirin and children, there are also cases of children with a viral illness contracting this killer without taking aspirin.

Most Live But Some Die

The disease makes children extremely sick by causing Fatty Liver Disease and they develop severe encephalopathy-like symptoms. While the liver might become slightly enlarged and the kidneys have an altered appearance, there is no jaundice. Even though supportive therapy helps most children to recover, the complications are debilitating brain damage to the extreme and many of our children die.

Multiple Studies Syndrome

Due to the broadness of the diagnostic techniques used, the disease does not carry the disease title. It is called a syndrome instead. The exact cause is a mystery but a few studies would suggest that children who have contracted certain viral diseases and have taken aspirin to help combat the problem have fallen ill with Reye's syndrome. Another, more controversial study suggests that acetaminophen is a culprit but that study is being hotly disputed. In fact, the only suggestive proof of the involvement of aspirin has been in epidemiological studies.

In Agreement

Because of this, the Surgeon General, the CDC, (Center for Disease Control) the AAP, (American Academy of Pediatrics) and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) have all begun to recommend that we stop giving aspirin to children under 19 years of age. In the UK, it is 16.

There are five stages of Reye's syndrome that you can go through once you have contracted the syndrome. They include:

Stage 1

• Headaches
• High Fever over 102 degrees
• Terrifying nightmares
• Confusion
• Lethargy
• Vomiting that is overly heavy and not affected by food intake

Stage 2

• Encephalitis stupor
• Hyperventilation
• Biopsies proven Fatty Liver Disease symptoms
• Reflexes become hyperactive

Stage 3 (Symptoms from one and two persist)

• Coma (in some cases)
• Cerebral edema (in some cases)
• Respiratory arrest (in rare cases)

Stage 4

• Coma deepens
• Pupils begin to be unresponsive and dilate
• Hepatic dysfunction

Stage 5 (final stage)

• Deep coma
• Seizures
• Multiple organ failure (Dysfunction Syndrome)
• Flaccidity (loss of muscle tone)
• Hyperammonemia (Ammonia in the blood)
• Death

Unacceptable Fatality Rate

While Reye's syndrome is rare in adults, all of the adult cases that are documented resulted in the adults making a complete recovery, including brain and liver function. The patients studied are protected by the HIPAA Security Rule. In children, brain and liver damage is likely with over 30% of the children affected succumbing to the Syndrome. A thirty percent fatality rate, especially in infants, is extreme for many diseases and the medical world is doing massive research to find a cause and a cure.

Paging Dr. Reye

Reye's syndrome is named after Dr. R. Douglas Reye, who co-published the first study in 1963. The study was first published in, "The Lancet," which is a peer-reviewed British Journal. However, it is believed that the first case of the syndrome ever recorded occurred in 1929.
by Greg Garner
References and Bibliography
For more information please visit our HIPAA HITECH website.
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