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What is kawasaki disease?

by Paresh Bramhane
What is kawasaki disease?

Kawasaki disease causes inflammatory changes in the veins, capillaries and arteries. This inflammation ends up causing damage to the coronary vessels which oxygenate the heart muscle. Without treatment, Kawasaki disease can cause complications like aneurysms, warranting treatment from experts like Vascular Surgeon in Lahore.

Read on to know more about Kawasaki disease: 

What are the symptoms of Kawasaki disease?

The presentation of Kawasaki disease is acute, but the symptoms show up in phases. During the first phase, there is high fever that lasts for a period of five days or more. Even with use of antipyretic medication, the fever is not relieved. Additionally, there is redness and swelling on palms of hands and soles of feet. This is accompanied by peeling of skin, swollen glands, red eyes, and bright red tongue referred to as “strawberry tongue”. 

In the second phase of symptoms there is stomach pain with diarrhea, vomiting, peeling of skin of palms and soles, with joint pain. Within ten days of symptom onset, heart troubles arise. 

The third phase of disease wanes slowly, but lasts as long as eight weeks. 

How is Kawasaki disease diagnosed?

Kawasaki disease needs a thorough physical exam for diagnosis. In addition, investigations are performed to rule out other diseases. These include: echocardiograms, coronary angiogram, electrocardiogram, imaging techniques like chest x-ray, and blood tests. 

Echocardiograms use an ultrasound to see the cardiac output of the heart while assessing how well the heart is working. 

Electrocardiogram are useful in checking for abnormal heart rhythms, which are quite common in Kawasaki disease. 

Coronary angiogram assesses the coronary vasculature for the presence of atherosclerotic plaques as well as inflammatory changes secondary to Kawasaki disease. 

Chest x-ray helps to look at the heart and the lungs for signs of inflammation and cardiac failure. 

Blood tests in Kawasaki disease are done to rule out other diseases. In Kawasaki disease, blood picture shows low red blood cell count, inflammatory mediators and elevated white cell count. 

What is the treatment of Kawasaki disease?

Kawasaki disease is a painful condition with skin problems, swelling and fever. Initially the healthcare provider prescribes aspirin to prevent blood clots and subsequent heart damage. However, aspirin in children is associated with adverse side effects and should only be used after consultation with a healthcare provider. 

Immune globulins form the mainstay of therapy in Kawasaki disease; they are given through the intravenous route—i.e. directly into the veins. Immune globulins have antibodies to fight the infection. Immunoglobulins are most effective when given with aspirin to mitigate the risk of heart disease in children. 

What are the complications of Kawasaki Disease?

When treatment is started timely, the prognosis is good. Most children make full recovery without any lasting damage. 

Complications of Kawasaki disease in rare cases includes: arrythmias due to abnormal heart rhythms, damaged heart valves (mitral regurgitation), inflammation of blood vessels (vasculitis), and bulging arterial walls. For prevention of heart diseases, regular checkups by specialists must be done. If an aneurysm, secondary to Kawasaki disease occurs, treatment by Vascular Surgeon in Karachi an expert becomes mandatory.  

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