My Kawasaki Disease Story

By Dr. Anne Rowley

As a physician-in-training in pediatric infectious diseases more than 30 years ago, I was struck by the patients I saw with Kawasaki and the conversation with affected families about the condition. These families were faced with the new onset of serious illness in their previously healthy child due to a condition they had never heard of before. The physician caring for the child had to tell the family: 1) the cause of the disease was not known, 2) there was effective treatment but how it worked was unknown, and 3) their child could develop lifelong heart disease. This conversation was extremely difficult for families to hear and the physicians to tell. All of this made clear the importance of understanding the disease better.

During my training, my mentor Dr. Shulman, who is very interested in Kawasaki Disease and other heart infections, encouraged me to pursue investigations into its cause and how it affects the heart. Since completing my training, I have investigated the diagnosis, etiology, pathology immunology of Kawasaki disease. The parents, grandparents, and other family members of Kawasaki disease children who fervently desire to improve awareness, education, and research have inspired me to continue this work for the past several decades.