Ask the KD Experts: Kawasaki Disease and Long Term Effects
My daughter is now 12. She had Kawasaki disease when she was four years old. After treatment and the follow-up tests, they determined that she did not suffer any permanent damage to her heart. She did her follow up visit five years later and, and then another two years later she had another follow-up visit.
During this visit, they did an EKG which detected that it was not abnormal but not normal. The pediatric cardiologist asked that she come back in 2 years once her arteries were more developed. I felt like at this time we should be “home free” and we are not there yet after eight years. Is this normal to take this much time to determine if there is damage or not?
I would strongly recommend that you call your daughter’s cardiologist so that you can have a much better idea of what he is seeing in her EKG that is making him more worried. I assume that your cardiologist was able to obtain excellent images of your daughter’s coronary arteries early after the disease started. As long as this is so, I do not think you need to worry about clinical coronary artery disease in the first 30 years after KD.
In general, if aneurysms are going to develop, they do so in the first month after onset of Kawasaki Disease.
They do not develop late. Of course, it makes good sense to follow a heart-healthy diet, get plenty of exercise, avoid obesity, and never start smoking! These measures are good for everyone and may prevent or delay atherosclerotic changes. The very long-term effects of KD on coronary arteries and heart muscle will only be known after the first KD patients reach their 50’s and 60’s!
Jane W. Newburger, M.D., M.P.H.
Professor of Pediatrics
Associate Chief for Academic Affairs
Department of Cardiology