Delayed Recognition of Kawasaki Disease in Children with Presenting Intestinal Involvement

A recent study (C Columba et al. Full text: Intestinal Involvement in Kawasaki Disease J Pediatr 2018; 202: 186-93) indicates that when patients with Kawaski’s present with predominantly intestinal symptoms that this may lead to a delay in diagnosis and potential cardiac complications. In this systematic review, 33 articles reporting 48 cases of Kawasaki disease with intestinal involvement were considered.

Some key points:

  • In this study, abdominal pain and vomiting were the most frequently reported symptoms, followed by diarrhea. Fever was typically present but other features of Kawaski disease were not apparent at presentation.  Presentation can include dilated bowel loops suggestive of obstruction (pseudo-obstruction), pancreatitis, and intestinal vasculitis/bowel wall thickening.
  • “The prevalence of gastrointestinal involvement in Kawasaki disease is unknown as available data can only be derived from single reports and few case series. Miyake et al in their retrospective case series of 310 children with Kawasaki disease reported gastrointestinal involvement in only 7 cases (2.3%).”
  • “Abdominal symptoms in Kawasaki disease are more often due to hydrops of the gallbladder. In Taiwan, a routine abdominal ultrasound showed hydrops of the gallbladder in 21% of patients with Kawasaki disease.”

My take: Since early treatment of Kawasaki disease may improve outcomes, it is worthwhile to consider this in the differential diagnosis of patients presenting with possible obstruction and in those who have fever in addition to pain/emesis.

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More views from Parker Ridge hike, Banff

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