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Am Heart J. 2000 Feb;139(2 Pt 1):217-23.

Abnormal myocardial mechanics in Kawasaki disease: rapid response to gamma-globulin.

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Department of Cardiology, Children's Hospital and the Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



The time course and rate of recovery of myocardial dysfunction in association with Kawasaki disease in response to intravenous gamma-globulin is unknown and may provide mechanistic clues.


The acute changes in myocardial contractility in 25 patients with Kawasaki disease were evaluated by noninvasive stress-shortening and stress-velocity analysis. Echocardiograms were performed before and then daily for 4 days during which the patients received gamma-globulin 1.6 to 2 g/kg. Before treatment, contractility was abnormally low (<2 SD) in 14 patients (56%). Contractility increased significantly (2 SD increase) in 17 (68%), including 13 of 14 with depressed contractility and 4 whose initial contractility fell within normal limits. Of the 14 patients with depressed contractility, 8 (57%) normalized within 24 hours and a further 5 (35.7%) normalized within 6 months. A clinical response to treatment (fall in C-reactive protein by 50% and/or resolution of fever within 4 days) was seen in 22 patients (88%). Contractility increased in 17 of the 22 clinical responders and was normal before therapy in the other 5. The 3 patients who did not respond clinically also had no change in contractility with gamma-globulin therapy. Long-term (more than 12 months) follow-up was available in 19 patients. All patients had normal contractility at late follow-up.


More than half the patients with Kawasaki disease have abnormal contractility at presentation. Myocardial response to gamma-globulin therapy is associated with rapid improvement in myocardial mechanics, with a high concordance between the clinical and myocardial response to therapy. The speed of recovery suggests that depressed contractility in patients with Kawasaki disease is caused by a rapidly reversible process such as circulating toxins or activated cytokines. Long-term outcome is good even in those patients with slow recovery of myocardial function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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