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Clin Microbiol Rev. 1998 Jul;11(3):405-14.

Kawasaki syndrome.

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Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, Illinois 60153, USA.


Kawasaki syndrome (KS) is an acute, sometimes fatal vasculitis of young children. KS has replaced acute rheumatic fever as the most common cause of acquired heart disease in children in the United States. The illness is manifested by prolonged fever, conjunctival injection, enanthem, exanthem, erythema and swelling of the hands and feet, and cervical adenopathy. These acute features of illness are self-limiting, but coronary artery abnormalities occur in 20% of untreated patients. The etiology of the illness is unknown, but its clinical and epidemiologic features are most consistent with an infectious cause. Common cardiovascular manifestations of the illness include myocarditis, pericardial effusion, and coronary artery aneurysm formation. Treatment with intravenous gamma globulin (IVGG) and aspirin within the first 10 days of illness reduces the prevalence of coronary artery abnormalities from 20% in those treated with aspirin alone to 4%. Patients who develop coronary artery aneurysms, particularly those who develop giant coronary artery aneurysms, may suffer myocardial infarction secondary to thrombosis or stenosis in the abnormal vessel. Additional research to determine the cause of KS is urgently needed to allow for improved diagnosis, more specific therapy, and prevention of the disorder.

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