Reye’s Syndrome

  • Reye’s syndrome is a rare illness, most common in children.
  • It is a serious illness that can be harmful to the brain and the liver.
  • Usually occurs in children who are recovering from a viral infection; which may include cold, flu, or chickenpox.
  • Reye’s syndrome is commonly associated with the use of aspirin in children.
    • To prevent Reye’s syndrome, aspirin (salicylates) should not be given to children.

Symptoms of Reye’s syndrome

  • Symptoms can be very mild and may not be easily noticed.
  • These symptoms can also can be very serious and may get worsen within few hours.
  • Symptoms of Reye’s Syndrome may lead to death.
    • Common symptoms include:
    • Changes in level of consciousness
    • Vomiting, Diarrhea
    • Irritability and aggressive behavior
    • Tachypnea (in children under 2 years old)
    • Confusion, Lethargy, Seizures & Coma

Causes of Reye’s Syndrome

  • The cause of Reye’s syndrome is not known yet.
  • The use of aspirin to treat children with viral illness increases the chances of developing Reye’s syndrome.

Diagnosis of Reye’s Syndrome

  • Diagnosis usually starts with blood and urine tests.
  • Doctors may also test for metabolic disorders that could affect the liver.
  • Sometimes more invasive tests are needed – lumbar puncture, liver biopsy, MRI, or CT.

Prevention of Reye’s syndrome

  • Education – nurses should teach parents to avoid giving children aspirin
  • Aspirin should not be given to any child under the age of 19
  • Prevent viral illnesses in children, teach parents to make sure the child’s vaccinations are up to date.

Treatment for Reye’s Syndrome

  • There is no cure for Reye’s syndrome.
  • Early diagnosis helps towards successful treatment.
  • A client with Reye’s Syndrome will be treated in the hospital, mostly in the intensive care unit (ICU).
  • Treatments include:
  • Corticosteroids
  • IV fluids and Diuretics
  • Medicines to prevent bleeding
  • Client may also need ventilator

Nursing Interventions – Prevent further complications

  • Monitor vital signs – BP, RR, HR, Temp. Administer oxygen. Maintain airway.
  • Monitor Intracranial Pressure and prevent seizures. Position to decrease ICP.
  • Monitor blood glucose levels closely
  • Intake and output, make sure to prevent fluid overload
  • Assess hemodynamic status; monitor cardiac, respiratory and neurologic status.
  • Administer medications per doctor’s orders, monitor for adverse effects, prevent injury and complications.
  • Provide skin and mouth care, provide range of motion exercise to promote joint mobility.
  • Provide supportive care for the client and the family members.

Reference: Wong’s Essentials of Pediatric Nursing 9th edition

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