Recent advances in the treatment of Kawasaki disease

Ken-Pen Weng, Shan-F Ou, Chu-Chuan Lin, Kai-Sheng Hsieh
Journal of the Chinese Medical Association: JCMA 2011, 74 (11): 481-4
Kawasaki disease (KD) is acute systemic vasculitis that occurs mainly in infants and children under 5 years of age. The etiology of KD remains unknown. KD is liable to be complicated by coronary artery lesions (CALs), which develop in approximately 15-25% of untreated KD children and in approximately 5% of KD children after intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) therapy. A single high dose of IVIG (2 g/kg) is the gold standard therapy in the acute stage of KD. However, approximately 8--38% of children are unresponsive to initial IVIG treatment and at increased risk for CAL development. Anti-inflammatory high doses of aspirin are recommended in conjunction with IVIG, but our study demonstrated that there is no evidence of efficacy in preventing CAL development. The usefulness of steroids in initial therapy for KD or treatment of IVIG-resistant patients is not well established. Other immunosuppressive therapies, including infliximab, have been used in the treatment of refractory KD, but merit additional investigation. Subclinical atherosclerosis may develop early in KD patients, which makes early initiation of therapy to improve chronic inflammation an important issue. Future multicenter studies may help to define the optimal management of KD patients.


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