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Kawasaki disease (KD) is a serious, noncontagious illness that causes inflammation in the walls of blood vessels in the body. If this inflammation occurs in the arteries of the heart, it can lead to heart disease.
KD primarily affects young children and infants. It is more common in boys than in girls. The condition is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children. Although about 80 percent of patients are under 5 years of age, KD can affect older children, teenagers and adults.
The cause of KD is unknown. Some researchers believe it may be caused by a virus or bacterium. It is not contagious (passed from person to person) and does not appear to be hereditary (passed from parent to child).
Symptoms of Kawasaki disease may include:
If your child has a persistent fever and any of these symptoms, call the doctor immediately.
There is no specific test for KD, so it can be hard to diagnose. Your child's doctor will make a diagnosis based on your child’s symptoms, a physical examination, lab tests and by ruling out other conditions. An echocardiogram, which uses sound waves to make images of the heart, may be performed to look for possible heart problems. If necessary, the doctor will do follow-up tests to check the health of the heart.
Treatment for KD should begin as soon as possible after diagnosis. While most children who get early treatment recover without long-term effects, others still develop heart problems despite therapy.
Treatment for KD may include:
Though uncommon, some children with KD may have treatment resistance disease or recurrent disease in the weeks following treatment. If the disease causes heart problems, your child may need more treatment and follow-up tests.
For more information about Kawasaki disease, please visit the resources below.
Riley at IU Health offers a broad range of supportive services to make life better for families who choose us for their children's care.
The Infectious Diseases Department at Riley at IU Health participates in ongoing research into the measurement of the immune response to KD. This research may aid in the diagnosis of this illness.
In addition to our primary hospital location at the Academic Health Center in Indianapolis, IN, we have convenient locations to better serve our communities throughout the state.
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