The author, a pediatric neurologist at the U. of Kansas School of Medicine, Wichita, Kansas, reviews the sequelae and risk factors in survivors of Reye s syndrome. He reports a mortality rate of less than 20-30% but significant psychological sequelae in up to 64%, neurologic deficits in 54%, and major handicaps in 42% that include blindness, spasticity, mental retardation, and occasionally, seizures. Mild residual problems involve speech and language (30%), learning (30%), and behavior and emotion (50-70%). Factors that predict sequelae are 1) severe symptoms, 2) prolonged coma, and 3) young age group. Ammonia and SGOT levels do not correlate with prognosis. (Svoboda WB. J Nat Reye’s Syndrome Foundation 1987; 2:34-37).

COMMENT: This report was one of 10 invited papers presented at the 12th annual meeting of the Nat Reye’s Syndrome Foundation. The author points out that in the 1960’s the question was “What is Reye’s Syndrome?“, in the 1970’s, “Will the child survive?“, and in the 1980’s, “What sequelae may be expected and how should these be managed?“

In one report of 16 survivors of Reye’s syndrome [1] significant emotional problems in 56% of the children and 94% of their mothers contrasted with relatively good intellectual and academic recovery. None had severe neurologic sequelae and 14 (88%) had IQ’s within the normal range. The decreasing mortality rate of Reye’s syndrome has focused attention on the quality of life of survivors and their parents.