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June 1969

Reye's Syndrome: Encephalopathy in Children Associated With Fatty Changes in the Viscera

Am J Dis Child. 1969;117(6):717-721. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1969.02100030719019

IN 1963 Reye and co-workers1 reported their clinical and pathological observations in 21 children with encephalopathy and fatty change in the viscera. Many similar cases have been subsequently reported from Australia,2 England,3,4 South Africa,5 Czechoslovakia,6,7 United States,8-15 and New Zealand.16

Within the past few months in separate Canadian centers17,18 33 additional cases have been recognized. We have observed two children in the Regina General Hospital whose clinical and pathological findings conform closely with the syndrome described in reports to date.

The illness, in most instances, begins with a mild upper-respiratory tract infection which subsides briefly and is then followed by profuse vomiting, fever, convulsions, and coma. Profound hypoglycemia occurs in most cases, accompanied by acidosis and ketosis. Other consistent findings include moderate elevation of blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and transaminase levels.

Survival is uncommon. Death occurred in 17 of the 21 cases