Kawasaki (pediatric blood vessel)

Chest | Pathology | Kawasaki (pediatric blood vessel) (Disease)


Kawasaki disease is a rare condition in children that involves inflammation of the blood vessels. Kawasaki disease occurs most frequently in Japan, where the disease was first discovered. In the United States, after congenital heart defects, Kawasaki disease is the leading cause of heart disease in children. Most of these patients are younger than age 5. The disease occurs more often in boys than in girls.

Symptoms of Kawasaki disease include: a fever lasting at least 5 days, red eyes, a body rash, swollen, red, cracked lips and tongue, swollen, red feet and hands, swollen lymph nodes in the neck.

Causes and Risk factors

Kawasaki disease is a poorly understood illness. The cause has not been determined. It may be an autoimmune disorder. The disorder affects the mucus membranes, lymph nodes, walls of the blood vessels, and the heart.

Kawasaki disease can cause inflammation of blood vessels in the arteries, especially the coronary arteries. This inflammation can lead to aneurysms. An aneurysm can lead to a heart attack, even in young children, although this is rare.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Early diagnosis and treatment can often prevent future heart problems. Kawasaki disease can be hard to diagnose, because there is not a test for it.

Treatment for Kawasaki disease starts in the hospital. It may include: Immunoglobulin (IVIG) medicine, given through a vein (intravenous, or IV) to reduce inflammation of the blood vessels; Aspirin to help pain and fever and to lower the risk of blood clots (only if the doctor prescribes it). If the disease causes heart problems, the child may need more treatment and follow-up tests. ...

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