Corticosteroid treatment of refractory Kawasaki disease

Bianca A Lang, Rae S M Yeung, Kiem G Oen, Peter N Malleson, Adam M Huber, Mark Riley, Regan Ebbeson, Suzanne E Ramsey, Ronald M Laxer, Earl D Silverman, Brian W McCrindle, Savithiri Ratnapalan, Brian M Feldman
Journal of Rheumatology 2006, 33 (4): 803-9

OBJECTIVE: To review the indications for corticosteroids in patients with Kawasaki disease (KD) treated by pediatric rheumatologists in Canada and to determine their efficacy on fever in patients with refractory KD.

METHODS: All practicing pediatric rheumatologists in Canada identified KD patients treated with corticosteroids and completed a standard data form that included demographics, clinical and laboratory features, imaging studies, and therapeutic interventions, by chart review.

RESULTS: Thirty-two patients with KD (14 female; 18 male: mean age 4.6 years) were treated with corticosteroids. Corticosteroids were used in 26 patients (81%) for persistent fever despite treatment with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) (refractory KD), 5 patients (19%) for congestive heart failure, and 1 patient for persistent acute phase symptoms other than fever. The 26 patients with refractory KD are the primary subject of this report. Twenty-two patients (85%) had rapid, sustained resolution of fever after corticosteroids. There were no serious reported adverse effects. Eight patients (31%) treated with corticosteroids developed coronary artery (CA) aneurysms and 9 (35%) developed CA dilatations without aneurysms. Of those who developed CA aneurysm, 4 had aneurysms detected prior to IV methylprednisolone (MP) on echocardiograms performed on days 6-27 (mean day 13) of illness. The remaining 4 patients had CA aneurysm detected after IVMP therapy, on echocardiograms performed on days 13-49 (mean day 23) of illness, 1-25 days (mean 9 days) after IVMP. In patients with one year or more of followup, 46% had resolution of CA abnormalities.

CONCLUSION: Corticosteroids are effective in the treatment of fever in most patients with IVIG-refractory KD. A multicenter prospective study is needed to determine the effect of corticosteroids on CA outcome in patients with refractory KD.

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