Intravascular Ultrasound of Coronary Arteries in Children: Assessment of the Wall Morphology and the Lumen After Kawasaki Disease

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The long-term clinical issue in Kawasaki disease (KD) concerns the coronary artery lesion. Two-dimensional echocardiography and coronary angiography are routine examinations to evaluate the coronary lesions; however, these are not adequate to assess the wall morphology of the coronary artery (CA). Intravascular ultrasound imaging (IVUS), a new technology for the evaluation of the coronary artery lumen and wall morphology in vivo, was performed for patients after KD in their long-term follow-up, and we examined the new insights it gave.

Methods and Results

IVUS was performed during cardiac catheterization in 20 subjects (10 patients after KD who still had coronary aneurysms or regressed coronary aneurysms, 2 after KD who had no coronary abnormal lesion, and 8 control patients with congenital heart disease and normal CA). We evaluated the wall structure at 10 to 15 sites of the CA in each patient. IVUS was performed with a commercially available ultrasound imaging catheter. Four sites of a CA aneurysm in KD demonstrated a markedly dilated lumen without thickened intima. One site of a CA aneurysm with calcification demonstrated an asymmetrical lumen by a dense echo with acoustic shadows. Twenty-two sites of a regressed CA aneurysm demonstrated a marked symmetrical or asymmetrical thickening of the intima with a dense echo, in which the size of the lumen was similar to that at a site near a regressed aneurysm. The sites of angiographically normal CA revealed normal structures and a thin intima in many instances. Nine of 28 sites in KD with a CA abnormal lesion, particularly near a coronary aneurysm or regressed aneurysm, demonstrated a mild thickening of the intima. All the 10 sites in KD without a CA abnormal lesion and all the 25 sites in patients with congenital heart disease with normal CA demonstrated a smooth intima.


This study demonstrated that the site of a regressed coronary aneurysm has a markedly thickened but smooth intima. The sites of angiographically normal CA after KD with or without a coronary lesion demonstrated normal IVUS findings in most instances but in some cases revealed a mild intimal thickening. IVUS is useful to evaluate the CA wall morphology and may contribute to the assessment of long-term CA sequelae and the possible development of arteriosclerotic changes in KD.

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