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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Kawasaki syndrome


Other Names for this Disease

  • Kawasaki disease
  • Mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Your Question

I know someone who had Kawasaki syndrome when he was a child. Is there any information about the long-term consequences of this condition in surviving adults?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is Kawasaki syndrome?

Kawasaki syndrome is a condition that involves inflammation of the blood vessels.[1] It is typically diagnosed in young children, but older children and adults can also develop this condition.[1]  Kawasaki syndrome is usually accompanied by a fever that lasts at least 5 days. Other classic symptoms may include red eyes, lips, and mouth; rash; swollen and red hands and feet; and swollen lymph nodes.[1] Kawasaki syndrome occurs most often in people of Asian and Pacific Island descent.[2]
Last updated: 1/12/2009

Can Kawasaki syndrome diagnosed in childhood have later effects on adults?

Although Kawasaki syndrome is generally self-limiting, 10-15% of children may develop problems in their coronary arteries, even after being treated with aspirin and intravenous gamma globulin (purified antibodies--also known as IVIG).[1] Inflammation of the heart muscle (myocardium), heart valves (endocardium) and/or sac surrounding the heart (pericardium) may occur acutely (at the onset of the disease) or many years later.[3] The most common late complication is the persistence of coronary artery aneurysms (weakened areas of blood vessel that balloons out). Such aneurysms can lead to heart attack at a young age or later in life.[1]

In addition, adults may present with ischemic heart disease (ischemic means that an organ, in this case the heart muscle, has not received enough blood and oxygen) as a sequela (late effects) of unrecognized Kawasaki syndrome in childhood.[4] 

 

Last updated: 1/12/2009

What management strategies might be employed in adults who survived childhood cases of Kawasaki disease?

Long-term follow-up in patients with Kawasaki disease and coronary aneurysms is recommended.[4] Patients who have had Kawasaki disease should have an echocardiogram every 1 - 2 years to screen for heart problems.[1] Other means of monitoring blood flow to the heart include MRI, and radio-nucleide studies. Abnormalities of the coronary arteries may require ongoing medication, interventional catheterization and/or cardiac surgery.[5]
Last updated: 1/12/2009

References
Other Names for this Disease
  • Kawasaki disease
  • Mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.