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.

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What is the treatment for Kawasaki's disease?

Children affected by Kawasaki's disease are hospitalized. Kawasaki's disease is treated with high doses of aspirin (salicylic acid) to reduce inflammation and to mildly thin the blood to prevent blood clot formation. Also used in treatment is gammaglobulin administered through the vein (intravenous immunoglobulin or IVIG), together with fluids. This treatment has been shown to decrease the chance of developing aneurysms in the coronary arteries, especially when used early in the illness. Sometimes cortisone medications are given. Persisting joint pains are treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve).

Plasma exchange (plasmapheresis) has been reported as effective in patients who were not responding to aspirin and gammaglobulin. Plasmapheresis is a procedure whereby the patient's plasma is removed from the blood and replaced with protein-containing fluids. By taking out portions of the patient's plasma, the procedure also removes antibodies and proteins that are felt to be part of the immune reaction that is causing the inflammation of the disease.

Kawasaki's disease that is not responding to the traditional cornerstones of treatment, aspirin and gammaglobulin infusions, can be deadly. Treatments being investigated include doxycycline, statin drugs (Lipitor, Mevacor, others), anakinra (Kineret), and cyclosporine (Neoral).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/19/2015

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