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Kawasaki Disease

more about Kawasaki Disease

Mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome

  • This syndrome usually occurs in children (80% under age of 5).  For unknown reasons, the cells lining the small and medium-sized blood vessels (such as the coronary arteries of the heart) are attacked by the body's immune system.
  • This process is known as an autoimmune attack, and can damage the heart, skin, lymph nodes, mucous membranes (e.g., mouth and eyes), and other body parts.

  • Fever for more than 5 days
  • Irritability
  • Both eyes are red
  • Throat is red
  • Cracked lips
  • "Strawberry tongue"
  • Leg swelling
  • Skin peeling
  • Skin becomes red
  • Rash, usually in the pelvic area and face
  • Palm and soles may be red
  • Enlarged lymph glands of the back of the neck
  • The coronary arteries (the arteries of the heart) become inflamed in 20% of untreated conditions.  This is called arteritis.
  • Patients with coronary artery involvement may have a heart attack
  • Joint swelling and pain may be seen

  • Physical exam will reveal the changes in the skin, lymph nodes, joints, lips, and eyes.
  • Blood tests -- complete blood count, kidney function, and ESR
  • Electrocardiogram, chest X-ray, and echocardiogram may show changes in the heart.

  • Treatment for Kawasaki disease starts in the hospital, but children often respond very quickly and can go usually go home in a few days on oral aspirin.
  • IVIG (intravenous immunoglobulin), is a mixture of antibodies collected from donated blood.  Consequently, there is a risk of infection being passed from the blood donor to the person receiving IVIG.
  • Aspirin, which very safe for teenagers and adults, is associated with development of "Reye Syndrome," which can occur when a child with the Flu takes aspirin.  Because of this, children undergoing treatment for Kawasaki disease with aspirin, and their families, should be vaccinated for the Flu.
  • IVIG is only given once, but aspirin is usually needed for several months.

  • Even if a child's initial echocardiogram is normal, many heart specialists feel that there is always a future risk for heart disease after Kawasaki disease.  Consequently, most children will have regular follow-up with a cardiologist, sometimes for the rest of their lives.
  • Children who develop heart problems will require specialized treatments.
  • The majority of patients with Kawasaki disease, however, do very well and have no problems later in life.

  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • Measles
  • Staphylococcal toxin
  • Group A-beta hemolytic streptococcal infection

more about Kawasaki Disease

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