Testing & Diagnosis for Reye Syndrome in Children

The diagnosis of Reye syndrome is made after the sudden onset of specific symptoms and after diagnostic testing. During a physical examination, your child's physician obtains a complete medical history. You may also be asked if your child has recently had a cold or other viral illness, and whether your child has taken aspirin or medication containing aspirin.

Diagnostic tests that may be performed to confirm the diagnosis of Reye syndrome include the following:

  • blood- and liver-function tests
  • urine and stool tests
  • liver biopsy - a small amount of tissue removed from the liver and studied
  • electroencephalogram (EEG) - records the brain's continuous, electrical activity by means of electrodes attached to the scalp
  • lumbar puncture (spinal tap) - A special needle is placed into the lower back, into the spinal canal. This is the area around the spinal cord. The pressure in the spinal canal and brain can then be measured. A small amount of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) can be removed and sent for testing to determine if there is an infection or other problems. CSF is the fluid that bathes your child's brain and spinal cord.
  • intracranial pressure monitoring (ICP) - measures the pressure inside of the child's head