November 29, 2015
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Kawasaki Disease (cont.)

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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 renowned pediatrician Tomisaku Kawasaki.

Is Kawasaki's disease contagious?

No. Kawasaki's disease is not believed to be a contagious illness.

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). The weakening occurs because of destruction of the elastic tissue in the walls of the blood vessels. Coronary aneurysms occur because of such injury to the blood vessels in 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). Monitoring for this problem is crucial throughout life as it can develop as a late aftereffect of Kawasaki's disease. Other arteries that can become inflamed include the arteries of the lungs, neck, and abdomen. These effects can lead to breathing problems, headaches, and abdominal pain, 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.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/19/2015



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