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Higher cardiovascular risks in Kawasaki disease persist 10-plus years



A call for closer monitoring

“Based on our results, we find that Kawasaki disease survivors may benefit from additional follow-up and surveillance for cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol,” Dr. Robinson said. Early identification of heightened risk could allow physicians to more closely monitor this subgroup and emphasize potentially beneficial lifestyle modifications, including increasing physical activity, implementing a heart healthy diet, and avoiding smoking.

Mortality was not significantly different between groups. “Despite the risk of cardiac events we found, death was uncommon,” Dr. Robinson said. Among children with Kawasaki disease, 1 in 500 died during follow-up, so “the risk of death was actually lower than for children without Kawasaki disease.”

Similar findings of lower mortality have been reported in research out of Japan, he added during a plenary presentation at ACR 2020. Future research is warranted to evaluate this finding further, Dr. Robinson said.

Future plans

Going forward, the investigators plan to evaluate noncardiovascular outcomes in this patient population. They would also like to examine health care utilization following a diagnosis of Kawasaki disease “to better understand what kind of follow-up is happening now in Ontario,” Dr. Robinson said.

Another unanswered question is whether the cardiovascular events observed in the study stem from atherosclerotic disease or a different mechanism among survivors of Kawasaki disease.

The research was supported by a McMaster University Resident Research Grant, a Hamilton Health Sciences New Investigator Award, and Ontario’s Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. Dr. Robinson had no relevant financial disclosures.

SOURCE: Robinson C et al. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2020;72(suppl 10): Abstract 0937.


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