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Update on Kawasaki Disease

Exciting collaborations with climate scientists have produced potential leads into associations with tropospheric wind patterns

by Mark Shen, MD, SFHM, FAAP

"Hopefully there will be a test available to physicians for diagnosing KD in the next 5 years," said Adriana Tremoulet, MD, MAS, who is the Associate Director of the Kawasaki Disease Research Center at Rady Children's Hospital/UC San Diego. Research into biomarkers looks promising and there is even some work underway to develop an app to help with the diagnostic algorithm for atypical cases, shared Dr. Tremoulet.

While many of the ways in which we make the diagnosis of KD have remained the same over the years, with little insight into the etiology, beware of clusters of certain presentations, to include shock, or "Kawashocki" Disease.

Treatment with IVIG remains first-line therapy, but there is a need to do more research into effective treatment for high risk populations—IVIG-resistant children. "The future of this disease is how we will treat all children," Dr. Tremoulet said as she described the research design challenges for children that have already failed therapy. Controlled trials are underway to evaluate new treatments in this population.

Exciting collaborations with climate scientists have produced potential leads into associations with tropospheric wind patterns. "We cannot do this work alone," and physicians on the West Coast are urged to participate in an ongoing collaborative related to this research.

Key Takeaways:

  • For unclear reasons, presentations of KD continue to cluster; climate may play a role;
  • Use IVIG for children that present with "Kawashocki" Disease;
  • Research may soon provide us with diagnostic biomarkers as well as treatments for high-risk children; and
  • Contact Olivia Fabri, Research Coordinator, to receive more information related to the West Coast KD Epidemiology Consortium (WIND study).


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October 2014


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ISSN: 1553-085X