- Risk Factors
- Signs and Symptoms
Kawasaki disease (KD) is an acute, self-limiting, multisystem, inflammatory disease of unknown etiology. It primarily affects infants and young children, usually aged younger than five years old.
Approximately, 50 percent of children may develop inflammation of heart muscle, which is often associated with an abnormally increased heart rate, decreased lower heart chamber functioning, and, in severe cases, the impaired ability of the heart to effectively pump blood to the lungs and the rest of the body (heart failure).
Kawasaki disease is also called:
Why is it called Kawasaki disease?
Kawasaki disease (KD) is named after the Japanese pediatrician Tomisaku Kawasaki, who in 1967 described the first case of the disease.
Originally thought to be a rare disease, KD is the primary cause of acquired heart disease in children in developed countries.
What causes Kawasaki disease?
The exact cause is unknown, but evidence suggests infection or inappropriate immune response to an infection could be the cause of Kawasaki disease.
Another speculation suggests that the disease may be caused by certain toxic substances called bacterial “superantigens,” produced by bacteria, such as streptococci or staphylococci.
They may trigger an exaggerated response of the immune system, resulting in infiltration of blood vessel walls with certain white blood cells, associated blood vessel inflammation (vasculitis), and cardiovascular damage.
Who is at risk of Kawasaki disease?
Risk factors of Kawasaki disease include:
- Age: 80 to 90 percent of the cases occur in children younger than five years.
- Gender: Boys are 1.5 times more likely to be at risk than girls.
- Ethnicity: Children of Asian descent; Japanese and Korean children are at the highest risk.
- Seasonal: Kids are more likely to get infected in the winter and spring seasons.
What are the signs and symptoms of Kawasaki disease?
Kawasaki disease does not spread from person to person.
The most common signs and symptoms include:
- A high fever temperature of more than 102.2°F that lasts for five or more days
- Inflammation of the mucus membranes of the mouth and throat, resulting in dry, red, cracked, swollen lips, and a strawberry-red tongue
- Red skin rash between the chest and legs and in the genital or groin area
- Lymphadenopathy (swelling of lymph nodes), especially of the neck
- Redness and swelling of the hands and feet
- Redness of the eyes
Is Kawasaki disease life-threatening?
Kawasaki disease can affect the heart within 10 days to 2 weeks after symptom onset.
In a few cases, affected children may develop additional symptoms and complications, such as:
- Coronary arteritis: Inflammation of arteries transporting blood to the heart.
- Vasculitis: Inflammation of blood vessels.
- Aneurysms: Widening or bulging of the coronary artery.
- Myocarditis: Inflammation of the heart muscles.
- Pericarditis: Inflammation of the membranous sac surrounding the heart.
- Aortic or mitral valve insufficiency: Leakage of heart valves.
- Bilateral conjunctivitis: Inflammation of the white area of the eyes.
- Desquamation: Peeling of skin on fingers and toes.
- Arthritis: Inflammation of the joints.
- Hepatosplenomegaly: Enlargement of the liver and spleen.
- Aseptic meningitis: Inflammation of the membranes covering the brain.
- Otitis media: Inflammation of the middle ear.
- Dysrhythmia: Abnormal heart rhythm.
- Rupture of an aneurysm.
- Myocardial infarction (heart attack).
How is Kawasaki disease diagnosed?
There is no specific, single test to diagnose Kawasaki disease. Diagnosis can be made based on the physical signs and symptoms, and the patient should present with a high fever for more than five days.
- Physical examination: The doctor will check for
- Electrocardiography: To check for irregular heartbeats
- Blood tests: Complete blood count and C-reactive protein may help know the extent of infection
- Imaging tests: The doctor can order imaging tests, such as
Can Kawasaki disease be cured?
Most children recover without serious problems if they receive treatment within 10 days of symptom onset.
Prompt treatment is critical to prevent significant heart problems, which may include:
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Brennan D. Kawasaki disease. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/children/what-is-kawasaki-disease
American Academy of Pediatrics. Kawasaki disease in infants and young children. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/heart/Pages/Kawasaki-Disease.aspx
National Organization for Rare Disorders. Kawasaki disease. https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/kawasaki-disease/
Gordon JB, Kahn AM, Burns JC. When children with Kawasaki disease grow up: Myocardial and vascular complications in adulthood. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2009;54(21):1911-1920. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2009.04.102
Top Can Kawasaki Disease Cause Heart Failure Related Articles
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)Congestive heart failure (CHF) refers to a condition in which the heart loses the ability to function properly. Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, myocarditis, and cardiomyopathies are just a few potential causes of congestive heart failure. Signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure may include fatigue, breathlessness, palpitations, angina, and edema. Physical examination, patient history, blood tests, and imaging tests are used to diagnose congestive heart failure. Treatment of heart failure consists of lifestyle modification and taking medications to decrease fluid in the body and ease the strain on the heart. The prognosis of a patient with congestive heart failure depends on the stage of the heart failure and the overall condition of the individual.
Heart failure (congestive) is caused by many conditions including coronary artery disease, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, and conditions that overwork the heart. Symptoms of heart failure include
- congested lungs,
- fluid and water retention,
- fatigue and weakness, and
- rapid or irregular heartbeats.
There are two types of congestive heart failure, systolic or left-sided heart failure; and diastolic or right-sided heart failure. Treatment, prognosis, and life-expectancy for a person with congestive heart failure depends upon the stage of the disease.
Heart Failure QuizWhat is heart failure? Learn about this dangerous condition, as well as who is at risk, and what to do about it.
How Long Can You Live With Heart Failure?What is the life expectancy of people with heart failure? Learn about survival rates, determining factors, and lifestyle changes that may help increase your life expectancy.
What Is Kawasaki Disease?Kawasaki disease is a rare children's disease characterized by a fever that lasts more than five days and at least four of the following five symptoms are present: rash, swollen neck lymph gland, red tongue, swelling or redness of the hands or feet, and conjunctivitis. High doses of aspirin are used to treat Kawasaki disease. Cortisone and anti-inflammatory drugs may also be used during treatment.
Kawasaki's Disease PictureBlotchy erythema on the trunk of a child with Kawasaki's disease. See a picture of Kawasaki's Disease and learn more about the health topic.
What Are the 4 Stages of Congestive Heart Failure?The New York Heart Association developed the four stages of congestive heart failure depending on the functional capabilities of the heart which includes Class I, Class II, Class III, and Class IV.
What Causes Congestive Heart Failure?Congestive heart failure is a chronic disease that progresses with time if left untreated. Heart failure can occur due to diseases of the heart, the blood vessels supplying oxygen and nutrients to the heart, or sometimes from factors outside the heart (extracardiac causes). With proper management, people who have congestive heart failure can lead nearly normal lives, depending on the severity of the condition.
What Foods Are Good to Treat Heart Failure?If you have mild-to-moderate heart failure, you may lead a nearly normal life by making some lifestyle changes. Foods that are good to treat heart failure include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat protein, nuts, legumes, and unsaturated fats.
Why Are Diuretics Used in Heart Failure?Congestive heart failure is a condition in which the heart is unable to efficiently pump blood to meet the body’s oxygen and nutrient needs. This leads to excess fluid in the blood that leaks from blood vessels and accumulates in the lungs and other tissues. Diuretics treat this symptom by causing the kidneys to filter out more fluid as urine.