Kawasaki disease

Kathryn A. Taubert*, Stanford T. Shulman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Kawasaki disease is a leading cause of acquired heart disease among children in the United States and other developed countries. Most children who contract this illness are less than two years old, and 80 percent of affected children are younger than five years of age. A generalized vasculitis of unknown etiology, Kawasaki disease can cause coronary artery abnormalities, including coronary aneurysms. From 20 to 25 percent of untreated children develop coronary artery abnormalities, which may resolve or persist. These abnormalities are of particular concern because they can lead to thrombosis, evolve into segmental stenosis or, rarely, rupture. The principal cause of death from Kawasaki disease is myocardial infarction. The cause of the disease remains unknown, but epidemiologic investigations and the clinical presentation suggest a microbial agent. Diagnostic criteria, including fever and other principal features, have been established. In the acute phase of the disease, treatment with acetylsalicylic acid and intravenously administered immunoglobulin is directed at reducing inflammation of the coronary arteries and myocardium. Early recognition and treatment of Kawasaki disease can reduce the development of potentially life- threatening coronary artery abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3093-3102
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Family Physician
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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