What causes Reye's syndrome?

The exact cause of Reye's syndrome is unknown, butit most commonly affectschildren and young adults recovering from a viral infection typically, but not exclusively,a cold, flu or chickenpox.

In most cases, aspirin has been used to treat their symptoms, so aspirin may trigger Reye's syndrome.

In Reye's syndrome, it's thought that tiny structures within the cells called mitochondria become damaged.

Mitochondria provide cells with energy and they're particularly important for the healthy functioning of the liver.

If the liver loses its energy supply, it begins to fail. This can cause a dangerous build-up of toxic chemicalsin the blood, which can damage the entire body and can cause the brain to swell.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018