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Kawasaki disease may be heart risk factor
U.S. researchers say Kawasaki disease, a childhood illness that causes blood vessel inflammation, may be a risk factor of heart disease.
Dr. Moshe Arditi, executive vice chair of research in Cedars-Sinai’s Department of Pediatrics in the Maxine Dunitz Children’s Health Center in Los Angeles, and colleagues showed how Kawasaki disease in young mice predisposed them to develop accelerated atherosclerosis — hardening of the arteries — in young adulthood.
The study suggested aggressive early treatment of the blood vessel inflammation caused by Kawasaki Disease may reduce the future risk of developing accelerated atherosclerosis.
As many as 25 percent of children with Kawasaki Disease will develop inflammation of the coronary arteries, making it the leading cause of acquired heart disease among children in developed countries, Arditi said.
“Heart disease is the leading cause of death in this country and this study suggests that adult cardiovascular diseases likely start during childhood and that Kawasaki Disease may play a role in the childhood origin of adult heart disease,” Arditi said in a statement.
Kawasaki disease, diagnosed in approximately 5,000 U.S. children every year — usually in children age 5 and younger — starts with a sudden, persistent fever and causes swollen hands and feet, red eyes and body rash. Scientists suspect Kawasaki Disease is the body’s immune reaction to a virus that has yet to be identified, Arditi said.
The study is published online ahead of the August print edition of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.
Copyright 2012 by United Press International