Kawasaki Disease

Kawasaki disease is the prevalent reason leading to acquired heart disease among infants in the United States, with the characteristic appearance of inflamed blood vessels all through the body, particularly the coronary arteries located around the heart.

Infants below five years are most commonly observed to be affected by the disease with boys being more frequently affected as compared to girls, and is a condition known to trigger in the winter and spring time.

Kawasaki Disease Causes:

Annually, there are approximately two thousand cited Kawasaki disease cases in the United States. Though the reason behind this acquired disease is still unknown, experts doubt that it could be partly occurring due to a pathogen like virus or bacteria that might elucidate the reason for collective appearance of such cases. Presently, there no preventive measures nor is there any proof of the transmittable nature of the disease.

Kawasaki diseaseKawasaki Disease Symptoms:

  • The preliminary signs comprise of fever, irritable behaviour. In certain cases, the onset of fever is swift and shots up to more than 104degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Appearance of rashes mostly in the trunk and genital regions.
  • Inflammation noted in the eyes or conjunctivitis with no discharge.
  • Swelling and reddening in the hands and feet that is followed by flaking or peeling of the skin noted in the fingers and toes.
  • Redness and chapping in the lips.
  • Redness, swelling and protruding bumps on the tongue – a condition also known as ‘strawberry tongue’.
  • Engorged lymph nodes in the neck region.

The order of the appearance of the symptoms could vary from child to child. Additionally, few kids might suffer from stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting and joint pain.

Kawasaki disease is ideally treated as soon as the child starts becoming symptomatic so as to lower the risk of heart-associated complications. In case the child is having high fever for 4 or more days and Kawasaki disease is suspected, then one needs to seek immediate medical consultation.

Diagnosis & Tests:

A detailed examination of the child is carried out to detect symptoms of Kawasaki disease. Diagnostic procedures also entail the exclusion of any other form of ailments that have analogous symptoms like scarlet fever, strep infection, meningitis and measles. Though there is no particular test specifically designed for testing Kawasaki disease, the doctor would carry out the below stated tests.

  • Blood analysis – For checking elevated levels of WBC or white blood cells and ESR erythrocyte sedimentation rate that are indicators of the presence of inflammation.
  • Urinalysis – For detecting any irregular white blood cells.
  • Chest X-ray – For checking any variations in the size of the heart and to search for any symptoms of cardiac failure.
  • ECG or Electrocardiogram – For checking for anomalous heart rhythms or arrhythmias and proof that the cardiac muscle is experiencing strain.
  • Echocardiogram – To evaluate any damage occurring to the heart and large blood vessels.

Timely diagnosis and treatment would significantly lower the likelihood of any imminent complications.

Kawasaki Disease Treatment:

  • If the presence of Kawasaki disease is confirmed, then the child would be intravenously administered a high dosage of gamma globulin or purified antibodies that aids in averting any damage to the coronary artery.
  • Additionally, aspirin therapy would also be given to lower the child’s high fever and allay the discomfort sensed due to the symptoms – all symptoms start subsiding following a day’s treatment. Once the symptoms diminish, lesser doses of aspirin would still be given for assuaging the likelihood of development of blood clots.

Though complications arising from treatment and relapse of the disease are uncommon, the child would require follow-up exams for checking the symptoms of any form of heart damage.

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