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Kawasaki disease and pregnant women
Date:3/6/2014

In the first study of its type, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have looked at the health threat to pregnant women with a history of Kawasaki disease (KD), concluding that the risks are low with informed management and care.

The findings are published in the March 6, 2014 online edition of the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

KD is a childhood condition affecting the coronary arteries. It is the most common cause of acquired heart disease in children. First recognized in Japan following World War II, KD diagnoses are rising among children in Asia, the United States and Western Europe. Predictive models estimate that by 2020 one in every 1,600 American adults will be affected by KD.

"A growing number of women with a history of KD are reaching child-bearing age, but there is little information available to guide their obstetrical care," said study author Jane C. Burns, MD, professor and director of the Kawasaki Disease Research Center at UC San Diego and Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego. "By and large, KD is virtually unknown among working obstetricians."

KD is currently diagnosed by a constellation of clinical signs, with supporting lab tests that indicate high levels of inflammation. These signs include abrupt onset of high fever, accompanied by four of five criteria, among them: widespread rash, cracked and fissured lips, "strawberry tongue," bloodshot eyes, lymph node enlargement and red, swollen hands and feet.

Without treatment, 25 percent of children with KD develop coronary artery aneurysms balloon-like bulges of heart vessels that may eventually result in heart attacks, congestive heart failure or sudden death. The condition can be treated with a high-dose of intravenous immunoglobulin and aspirin, reducing the risk of aneurysms to 5 percent. The long-term risk for adults with a history of KD in childhood is not known.

Senior study
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Contact: Scott LaFee
slafee@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert

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