Kawasaki syndrome, also known as Kawasaki disease, is a condition that causes the walls of small and medium sized arteries within the body to become inflamed, which most often occurs in young children. This inflammation affects the coronary arteries as well, which can cause complications for the heart muscle. Not only is the heart affected but the lymph nodes, skin and mucus membranes of the throat, nose and mouth. Symptoms of Kawasaki syndrome vary, but full recovery is often achievable despite the fact the cause of the syndrome remains unknown.
There are three phases associated with Kawasaki syndrome. The first phase produces a fever that can last up to two weeks, along with conjunctivitis without discharge and swollen lymph nodes. Other symptoms associated with the first stage of the syndrome are a rash on the trunk and genital area of the body, a red, swollen tongue, and red, dry, cracked lips. The skin on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet become red and swollen. These symptoms often cause irritability.
The second stage of Kawasaki syndrome involves the peeling of the skin on the feet, hands, finger and toes. Joint and abdominal pain are common as well. Vomiting and diarrhea are likely to occur during the second phase. During the third phase, symptoms begin to subside, but the child’s full energy level usually won’t return for another 8 weeks.
1 in 5 children who develop Kawasaki syndrome will suffer further complications, which can include inflammation of the heart muscle and heart valve problems. Complications include an abnormal heart rhythm and inflammation of the coronary arteries. In most cases, children who develop further complications recover without any permanent damage, but for a small percentage these complications can be fatal.