Kawasaki Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Kawasaki syndrome is a rare disease that mostly affects children. It is an inflammatory disease of the blood vessels that is accompanied by fever and can sometimes be confused with other diseases. Find out interesting facts about this syndrome today.

Kawasaki Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

The  Kawasaki disease  is a rare inflammatory disease of the vessels, which mainly affects children. Although the incidence is not very high, doctors need to know about it in order to make a proper diagnosis if a child has it.

In this syndrome, the small and medium-sized blood vessels, both veins and arteries, become inflamed .

The lymph nodes can also swell and the oral mucosa, tongue and lips are in most cases intensely reddened. Most affected children are under 5 years of age,  although this disease is a little less common in girls, but the difference is minimal. A higher incidence can be observed among different ethnic groups, such as the Japanese.

The causes of Kawasaki syndrome have not yet been adequately researched. Some hypotheses assume that microorganisms are the cause of the symptoms, but this has not yet been scientifically proven. Others suggest a genetic predisposition, but the underlying mechanisms are also unknown.

Kawasaki syndrome: the symptoms

Kawasaki syndrome has three different phases:

  • A high fever is one of the initial symptoms. Affected people have a fever of almost 40ÂșC, which develops over a period of 72 hours. In many cases bilateral conjunctivitis (conjunctivitis) without secretion and a rash on the chest and genital area develop at the same time.
  • In the second phase there is also dandruff formation. The irritated and swollen skin will peel off, especially on the fingers and toes. Gastroenteritis with vomiting and diarrhea can also develop. In addition, there is usually joint pain, but in most cases the fever has already subsided.
  • In the  last phase there are no further symptoms. The existing complaints slowly subside, but the recovery phase is very long. Children find it difficult to get back to their activities.
Child with Kawasaki Syndrome
Fever is an initial syndrome of Kawasaki syndrome. If there is none, there is no suspicion of this disease.

Kawasaki syndrome: diagnosis

Various medical associations around the world have compiled a set of diagnostic criteria that are used when this disease is suspected. There must be a fever in any case. In addition, the following symptoms are characteristic and decisive for the diagnosis:

  • Swelling of the hands and feet
  • Strawberry or raspberry tongue and dry lips
  • Scaly skin on the lower and upper limbs
  • Rashes with a less repetitive pattern
  • Swollen lymph nodes on the neck
  • Bilateral conjunctivitis with reddened eyes

In addition to observing these symptoms  , the examining doctor rules out other possible diseases that could be confused with Kawasaki syndrome. If the suspicion is high, he will also do an echocardiogram to identify the inflamed blood vessels.

Kawasaki syndrome: treatment

Baby with Kawasaki Syndrome
Diagnosing Kawasaki syndrome is not always easy as the symptoms can be confused with other diseases.

Treatment for this syndrome is with gamma globulin, aspirin, and anticoagulants. This is to prevent aneurysms that could result from the inflammation of the blood vessels.

Gamma globulin is given intravenously to prevent complications. Scientists have found that their greatest advantage is that they can prevent changes in the heart arteries.

Aspirin has anti-inflammatory properties, lowers fever, and relieves pain at the same time. It is therefore also helpful for joint pain (arthralgia). Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is known to cause various side effects in children, so it is recommended that this medicine only be given under the supervision of a doctor.

Around 10 percent of the children affected suffer from secondary symptoms,  which mainly affect the heart arteries. Even if treatment is timely, there are often lasting symptoms, which is why follow-up treatment with complementary therapies is important.

Rare disease for which there is therapy

Unlike other rare diseases, there are treatment options for Kawasaki syndrome. Success depends on reliable and early diagnosis. Doctors in Asian countries are paying more attention to this syndrome, but it is common around the world. The suspicion arises when the specific diagnostic criteria are met.

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