Kawasaki Disease

What is Kawasaki disease?

Kawasaki disease is an acute childhood illness that causes inflammation of the blood vessels in many areas of the body. If not treated early, it can cause damage to the coronary arteries, which supply the heart with oxygen.

With early treatment, most children begin to feel better in a few days, with a low likelihood of long-term heart issues. Most children are back to normal health in about six to eight weeks.

Kawasaki disease is the most common form of acquired heart disease in the United States and Japan. It is most common in children under age 5, although children of any age can develop it. Boys are 1.5 times more likely to develop the disease than girls.

There’s no definitive test for Kawasaki disease, and its symptoms often resemble those of other childhood diseases.

Kawasaki Disease

How we care for Kawasaki disease

The experienced team members of the Boston Children’s Hospital Kawasaki Disease Program provide coordinated care for children with Kawasaki disease — during the illness’s acute phase and for short- and long-term follow up.

Each year, our program — staffed by expert cardiologists, rheumatologists and a pediatric nurse practitioner — treats more than 65 patients who have confirmed or suspected Kawasaki disease. We follow more than 1,500 children and young adults who have had Kawasaki disease in our outpatient Heart Care Center.

The Kawasaki Disease Program serves as a national and international resource for parents and physicians. We provide families with a wealth of information, and support — and we help pediatricians and other specialists to confirm and treat this hard-to-diagnose illness.