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 prognosis for children with Kawasaki's disease?

Kawasaki's disease generally resolves on its own after four to eight weeks, and with early treatment, full recovery is usual.

However, the outcome is not so favorable in every child. Rarely, Kawasaki's disease can cause death from blood clots forming in abnormal areas of widening (aneurysms) of the heart arteries (coronary arteries). Aneurysms of the arteries to the heart (coronary arteries) can occur early or late, even when the children are adults. Those children with larger aneurysms have a worse prognosis because of this risk. Those whose echocardiograms do not demonstrate widening of the coronary arteries throughout life do best. Those with any signs of aneurysm changes require very close monitoring. Children less than 6 months of age and those with high levels of inflammation on blood testing are at highest risk.

The earlier the diagnosis is made and treatment is begun the better the outcome.

Researchers are searching for methods of detecting which children are at risk for the development of aneurysms of the coronary arteries. Further research is under way to investigate a variety of criteria for atypical variants of Kawasaki's disease that do not have classical presentations.

Is it possible to prevent Kawasaki's disease?

Because the cause of Kawasaki's disease has not been determined, there are no measures known that can prevent the disease. Early evaluation and treatment can decrease the chance for long-term problems.

REFERENCES:

American College of Rheumatology National Meeting, Boston, 2007.

Klippel, J.H., et al. Primer on the Rheumatic Diseases. New York: Springer, 2008.

Ruddy, Shaun, et al., eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Co., 2000.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/19/2015

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