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Clinical Cardiology
May 22, 1991

Diagnosis and Management of Kawasaki Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Pediatric Cardiology, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, New York, NY.

JAMA. 1991;265(20):2699-2703. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460200079040

Kawasaki disease is an acute vasculitis characterized by mucosal inflammation, rash, cervical adenopathy, indurative edema of the hands and feet, and late membranous desquamation of the fingertips. Early cardiac effects include myocarditis (occasionally with congestive heart failure), pericardial inflammation, and, rarely, valve involvement. Coronary artery aneurysms are a long-term concern because coronary thrombosis with myocardial infarction can be a late manifestation. The origin of Kawasaki disease is unknown, but an infectious agent is most likely. Management consists of aspirin for control of fever and inflammatory manifestations and intravenous gamma globulin for the prevention of coronary aneurysm formation. Careful late follow-up is required, especially for patients with persistent coronary abnormalities. Giant aneurysms (>8 mm) are more likely to progress to coronary obstructive disease, and coronary bypass grafts have been required for some patients. Late coronary artery manifestations in patients with mild early coronary dilatation have not been described. However, since long-term epidemiologic studies have not yet been performed, it is prudent to consider childhood Kawasaki disease to be a potential risk factor for coronary disease, especially in atherosclerosis-prone Western societies.

(JAMA. 1991;265:2699-2703)