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Arch Pediatr. 2002 Jun;9(6):581-6.

[Severe Reye syndrome: report of 14 cases managed in a pediatric intensive care unit over 11 years].

[Article in French]

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  • 1Service de réanimation pédiatrique et néonatale, hôpital de Bicêtre, Assistance publique-hôpitaux de Paris, 78, rue du Général-Leclerc, 94275 Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, France.


Idiopathic Reye syndrome is a rare disease revealed by unexplained encephalopathy and microvesicular liver steatosis. Some clinical and epidemiological studies mainly performed in English speaking countries questioned the reality of Reye syndrome because numerous know inherited metabolic diseases, and some of them unrecognized, could mimick this disorder. We focused in our study on severe forms of Reye syndrome admitted to a pediatric intensive care unit.


Retrospective study over the last eleven years (1991-2001) included all the pediatric patients admitted to our tertiary referral center with the classical American Reye syndrome criteria (e.g. CDC). Extensive metabolic screening was performed in all cases, except for the ultimately dead patients.


Fourteen patients (mean age 52 months) were included. Fever always occurred before their admission and aspirin (n = 12) or acetaminophen (n = 7) was prescribed. Median Glasgow scale was 7 on admission. Mean amoniac plasma level was 320 mumol/L and alanine-aminotransferase peak plasma level 1475 +/- 1387 IU/L. Mechanical ventilation was started in ten children and six of them underwent continuous venovenous hemofiltration. Three patients ultimately died and 11 survived with a mean five years follow-up without relapses or neurological impairment. Any of them demonstrated inherited metabolic disease except for one infant with hereditary fructose intolerance.


Unlike widespread opinion, severe Reye syndrome without identified metabolic disorders seems to not disappear in our country. Reye syndrome remains a potentially life threatening disease and raises for aggressive treatment of brain edema. If aspirin and Reye syndrome association are not formally documented in France, cautiousness must be kept in mind and all the aspirin adverse effects notifications should be addressed to the public drugs survey network.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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