Kawasaki Disease | Best Pediatric Hospital in Bangalore | Sakra


February, 2023

Kawasaki Disease

Kawasaki Disease is a condition that can affect children – it may prove difficult to identify this in the initial stages. It is crucial to diagnose and treat this in a timely fashion, writes Dr. Rajath Athreya, one of the best paediatricians in Bangalore. He is a senior consultant and HOD of Paediatrics at Sakra World Hospital and has a wide area of expertise in the field of paediatrics. 

Kawasaki Disease (KD) is a unique inflammatory condition in childhood. There is no one test to confirm the diagnosis but pediatricians have to put together the symptoms, and lab results and come to a conclusion. This becomes critical as the implications of missing the diagnosis, and not starting specific treatment early have significant consequences when the heart of the child is affected in the short and long term. 

Is Kawasaki Disease on the rise? 

Although we do not have an exact number (we do not have a national registry for KD), it is reported that the incidence is about 3-4 per 1000 children <5 years of age. In clinical practice we do see an increasing trend in India: this will be a combination of clinicians getting better and diagnosis, increased viral infections in the community, and as of yet unidentified factors. 

What causes KD?

KD does not have a specific cause. There may be viral triggers as we see cases of KD clustered together in some seasons. Essentially the body’s immune system goes on overdrive and the mechanisms of the immune system that are needed to fight a true infection are set in motion in the absence of one such infection. 

How is KD diagnosed?

KD is a combination of signs and symptoms: 
The essential feature being a child with a fever lasting 5 days or more and a few of the following findings
  • Red eyes, red throat, tongue, and mouth
  • Rashes all over the body
  • Swollen lymph glands in the neck 
  • Swelling of hands and feet
Infants and very young kids may have only a few of these signs. The blood tests usually show an overactive inflammatory response. 

How is KD treated? 

Timely identification and treatment with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), this is a medicine derived from pooled blood to extract immunoglobulins may prevent complications. This treatment is aimed at modulating the abnormal immune response and preventing complications. 

Are there any long-term complications with KD?

The main complication that we are concerned about is when the heart is affected. This may not be obvious in the first few weeks after the illness. Coronary arteries are small blood vessels that supply the heart itself and in a proportion of children with KD (1 in 4) coronaries are affected. They become weak and dilated and can lead to complications. Some of them get better with time, those children will be on blood thinners and have to be under follow-up long-term.


Previous/recent covid infection in a very small proportion of children has resulted in a condition very similar to KD. We have termed this as MISC – multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. This can be more severe than KD in the acute phase itself with some children needing intensive care. Heart complications are also seen similar to KD. 

Dr. Rajath Athreya is the Head of the Paediatrics Department at Sakra World Hospital. Department of Paediatrics and Neonatology at Sakra provides comprehensive paediatric services are provided under one roof.



Dr Rajath Athreya

Senior Consultant and HOD Paediatrics & Neonaotology

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