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December 1972

Reye's Syndrome: I. Blood Ammonia and Consideration of the Nonhistologic Diagnosis

Author Affiliations

USA; USA; Khon Kaen, Thailand
From the Medical Research Laboratory, SEATO Medical Project, Bangkok (Drs. Cotton and Glasgow), and the Department of Pediatrics, Khon Kaen Provincial Hospital (Dr. Dhiensiri), Khon Kaen, Thailand. Dr. Glasgow is now with the Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado, Denver; and Dr. Cotton is currently with the Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University Hospital, Nashville, Tenn.

Am J Dis Child. 1972;124(6):827-833. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1972.02110180029003

Blood ammonia levels were measured in 40 of 43 cases of Reye's syndrome; the blood ammonia level was elevated in 32 cases. The level of blood ammonia was directly related to the level of consciousness and survival. There was no correlation between subsequent changes in the blood ammonia level and the clinical course. We conclude that ammonia intoxication contributes to the encephalopathy of Reye's syndrome, and, probably, that other factors secondary to hepatic dysfunction are also important. In the presence of encephalopathy, biochemical criteria indicating hepatic dysfunction appear to provide a rational, nonhistologic basis for the diagnosis of Reye's syndrome.