Kawasaki Disease (KD) is a rare, but potentially serious illness that primarily affects young children. It is an inflammation of the blood vessels, and it can cause damage to the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart.
Symptoms of KD typically develop over a period of several days and can include a fever that lasts for more than five days, red eyes, redness and swelling of the hands and feet, redness and cracking of the lips and tongue, a rash, swollen lymph nodes, and irritability.
If left untreated, KD can lead to serious complications, including inflammation of the coronary arteries, aneurysms (bulging blood vessels) in the coronary artery, and even heart attacks.
The cause of KD is not known, but it is believed to be triggered by an infection or a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It is most common in young children, with the majority of cases occurring in children under the age of five. Boys are slightly more likely to be affected than girls.
Treatment for KD typically includes high doses of aspirin and intravenous (IV) immunoglobulin (IVIG), which is a treatment made from healthy people’s antibodies, to help reduce inflammation and prevent damage to the coronary arteries. In severe cases, treatment may also include corticosteroids.
The prognosis for children with KD is generally good, especially if the disease is diagnosed and treated early. With appropriate treatment, the risk of serious complications is low, and most children make a full recovery.
Regular follow-up visits to a pediatric cardiologist are typically recommended for children who have had KD to monitor their heart health and check for any long-term complications.
In cases where diagnosis is delayed or treatment is not given the case can go from acute KD to chronic KD which can cause severe long term cardiac damage.
If you suspect that your child may have KD, it is important to seek medical attention right away.