Kawasaki Disease

MaineHealth pediatric specialists diagnose and treat Kawasaki disease and other rare childhood illnesses. Our doctors are committed to restoring your child’s health.

What is Kawasaki disease?

Kawasaki disease involves inflammation of the blood vessels throughout the body. It occurs more often in boys than girls. Most children with the disease are younger than five years old. The disease affects the mucous membranes, lymph nodes, walls of the blood vessels, and the heart.

Kawasaki disease causes, symptoms

Kawasaki disease is not fully understood and the specific cause remains unknown. Factors such as the body’s response to a virus or infection and genetics may play a role in the development of Kawasaki disease.

The main symptom of Kawasaki disease is a fever that lasts more than five days and remains high, even after treatment with standard childhood fever medication. Other common symptoms:

  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Rash
  • Red, dry, cracked lips
  • Red, swollen tongue
  • Irritability
  • Sore throat
  • Joint pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain

Talk to your child’s provider if your child is having a fever that lasts more than five days and other symptoms of Kawasaki disease.

Diagnosing Kawasaki disease

In order to confirm a diagnosis of Kawasaki disease, doctors must rule out other diseases with similar symptoms. Tests and procedures may also be needed to make a diagnosis. Some of these tests include:

  • Chest X-ray
  • Laboratory tests
  • Urinalysis
  • Echocardiogram

Kawasaki disease treatment

Children with Kawasaki disease need to be treated at a hospital immediately to prevent complications and damage to the coronary arteries. The main treatment for Kawasaki disease is medicine. The goals of treatment include reducing fever and inflammation and preventing the disease from affecting coronary arteries. The standard treatment is high-dose aspirin and immune globulin. Immune globulin is a medicine given through an IV, or intravenously.

Most children treated for Kawasaki disease will not need additional treatment.

Access to care for patients with Kawasaki disease

MaineHealth cares about the health and wellbeing of children. Providers strive to implement the best and most advanced treatment programs for children with Kawasaki disease.

The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center offers a complete cardiac program for children in Maine. The health professionals at The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital provide comprehensive diagnostic assessment and some of the most advanced treatment options for children with Kawasaki disease.

Primary care is your first stop for care

Whether you choose a pediatrician for the kids and an internal medicine doc for the adults -- or opt for a family medicine doctor for the entire family -- MaineHealth has the primary care providers to meet your needs.
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