Kawasaki Disease (cont.)
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Catherine Burt Driver, MD
Catherine Burt Driver, MD, is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Driver is a member of the American College of Rheumatology. She currently is in active practice in the field of rheumatology in Mission Viejo, Calif., where she is a partner in Mission Internal Medical Group.
In this Article
- Kawasaki's disease facts
- What is Kawasaki's disease, and how is it diagnosed?
- What is mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome?
- What are the usual symptoms and signs of Kawasaki's disease?
- What are the less common findings?
- What is the difference between Kawasaki's disease and Kawasaki's syndrome?
- What causes Kawasaki's disease?
- Who develops Kawasaki's disease?
- How can Kawasaki's disease cause serious complications?
- What is the treatment for Kawasaki's disease?
- What is the prognosis for children with Kawasaki's disease?
- Can Kawasaki's disease be prevented?
- Find a local Pediatrician in your town
What is the difference between Kawasaki's disease and Kawasaki's syndrome?
They are the same. Kawasaki's disease is also referred to as Kawasaki's syndrome. It was first described in the late 1960s in Japan by the pediatrician Tomisaku Kawasaki.
What causes Kawasaki's disease?
The cause is not known. Microorganisms and toxins have been suspected, but none has been identified to date. Kawasaki's disease is not felt to be a contagious illness. Genetic factors and the immune system seem to play roles in the disease, which is characterized by immune activation.
Who develops Kawasaki's disease?
Kawasaki disease typically affects children under 5 years of age. Only rarely does it affect children over 8 years of age, in which case it is sometimes referred to as atypical Kawasaki's disease.
How can Kawasaki's disease cause serious complications?
Children with Kawasaki's disease can develop inflammation of the arteries of various parts of the body. This inflammation of the arteries is called vasculitis. Arteries that can be affected include the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle (the coronary arteries). Vasculitis can cause weakening of the blood vessels and lead to areas of vessel widening (aneurysms). Coronary aneurysms have been reported in some with Kawasaki's disease.
Because of the potential for heart injury and coronary aneurysms, special tests are performed to examine the heart. Children are typically evaluated with an electrocardiogram (EKG) and an ultrasound test of the heart (echocardiogram). Other arteries that can become inflamed include the arteries of the lungs, neck, and abdomen. These effects can lead to breathing problems, headaches, and pain in the belly, respectively. Blood tests to measure the degree of inflammation (such as C-reactive protein, or CRP, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate, or ESR) are often used to monitor the activity of the disease.
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