Kawasaki disease: an overview

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Kawasaki disease is an acute, self-limited vasculitis of childhood. The increasing frequency of the disease as well as the deficiency of specific diagnostic means renders its diagnosis and treatment an area of intense investigation. The purpose of this review is to summarize all the known features of Kawasaki disease and also give an insight to the latest findings.

Recent findings

Kawasaki disease is one of the leading causes of acquired heart disease in children while its cause remains essentially unknown. Viruses, bacterial conventional as well as superantigens, and genetic polymorphisms have been implicated in the etiology of the disease. Markers of inflammation, such as CCL2 and CCXCL10, contribute to the pathology and the diagnosis of Kawasaki disease. Intravenous administration of immunoglobulin remains the mainstay of therapy for Kawasaki disease. Nevertheless, forms of the disease refractory to intravenous administration of immunoglobulin therapy may respond to aspirin, corticosteroids, cyclophosphamide, and/or plasmapheresis.

Summary

The present review covers evidence regarding the history of Kawasaki disease, the epidemiology, etiology, pathology, genetic influences, and long-term sequela. It also includes an evaluation of contemporary diagnostic techniques and optimal therapeutic approaches with an emphasis on recent publications.

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