Kawasaki's Disease

  • Medical Author:
    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.

  • Medical Editor: Catherine Burt Driver, MD
    Catherine Burt Driver, MD

    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.

View RA Slideshow Pictures

Quick GuideChildhood Illnesses: A Parenting Guide to Sick Kids

Childhood Illnesses: A Parenting Guide to Sick Kids

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

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Arthritis Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Kawasaki Disease - Symptoms

    What symptoms did you experience with Kawasaki's disease?

    Post View 10 Comments
  • Kawasaki Disease - Treatments

    What treatment has been effective for your Kawasaki's disease?

    Post View 5 Comments
  • Kawasaki Disease - Describe Your Experience

    Did you or your child have Kawasaki's disease? Please share your experience.

    Post View 2 Comments

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors