Sequelae of Kawasaki disease in adolescents and young adults

Jane C. Burns, Hiroko Shike, John B. Gordon, Alka Malhotra, Melissa Schoenweiter, Tomisaku Kawasaki

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

309 Scopus citations


Kawasaki disease is an acute vasculitis of unknown etiology that predominantly affects children <5 years of age. Structural damage to the coronary arteries after the acute, self-limited illness is detected by echocardiography in ~25% of untreated patients. The long-term effects of the acute coronary arteritis are unknown. To define the spectrum of clinical disease in young adults that can be attributed to Kawasaki disease in childhood, we performed a retrospective survey of cases reported in the English and Japanese published data of adult coronary artery disease attributed to antecedent Kawasaki disease. The mean age at presentation with cardiac sequelae was 24.7 ± 8.4 years (range 12 to 39) for the 74 patients identified with presumed late sequelae of Kawasaki disease. Symptoms at the time of presentation with cardiac sequelae included chest pain/myocardial infarction (60.8%), arrhythmia (10.8%) and sudden death (16.2%). These symptoms were precipitated by exercise in 82% of patients. One-third of the patients in whom a chest radiograph was taken had ring calcification. Angiographic findings included coronary artery aneurysm (93.2%) and coronary artery occlusion (66.1%). Extensive development of collateral vessels was reported in 44.1% of patients. Autopsy findings included coronary artery aneurysms (100%) and coronary artery occlusion (72.2%). The acute vasculitis of Kawasaki disease can result in coronary artery damage and rheologic changes predisposing to thrombus formation or progressive atherosclerotic changes that may remain clinically silent for many years. Coronary artery aneurysms and calcification on chest radiography were unusual features in this group of patients. A history of antecedent Kawasaki disease should be sought in all young adults who present with acute myocardial infarction or sudden death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-257
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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