Understanding Kawasaki Disease

Today, March 17, 2015 - Singapore publication


KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital sees up to 150 new cases yearly, but parents’ awareness of this childhood disease is low

SINGAPORE — Just seven months old, Ihsan takes aspirin, crushed and mixed with water, every day.

The blood-thinning medication was given after he developed heart complications from Kawasaki Disease (KD) last month, said Ihsan’s mother Mdm Nadirah Pasuni.  The 37-year-old teacher has withheld her baby’s surname because of privacy issues.

KD is a childhood illness whereby blood vessels throughout the body become inflamed.  Although Ihsan’s condition was eventually diagnosed and treated, he developed a coronary aneurysm — an abnormal enlargement of the artery that can cause heart problems in the future. Only about 5 per cent of children with KD develop this.

A coronary aneurysm is dangerous because it can lead to blocked blood flow to the heart, decrease heart function, or cause abnormal heart rhythms or sudden death, said Associate Professor Tan Teng Hong, head and senior consultant at Cardiology Service, Department of Paediatric Subspecialties at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH).

Aspirin lowers the risk of blood clotting in the dilated coronary arteries, which can lead to a heart attack.

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