Diagnosing Reye's syndrome

As Reye's syndrome is so rare, other conditions that can cause similar symptoms need to be ruled out. These include:

  • meningitis inflammation of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord
  • encephalitis inflammation of the brain
  • inherited metabolic disorders conditions, such as medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MCADD) ,that affect the chemical reactions that occur in your body

Blood tests and urine tests can helpdetect if there's a build-up of toxins or bacteria in the blood, and they can also be used to check if the liver is functioning normally.

Tests may also be carried out to check for the presence or absence of certain chemicals that could indicate an inherited metabolic disorder.

Other tests that may be recommended include a:

  • CT scan to check for brain swelling
  • lumbar puncture wherea sample of fluid is removed from the spine using a needletocheck for bacteria or viruses
  • liver biopsy wherea small sample of liver tissue is removed and examined to look for distinctive cell changes associated with Reye's syndrome
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Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018