The Kawasaki Disease Clinic provides timely diagnosis, treatment and long-term follow-up care for children with Kawasaki disease (cow-a-SAH-kee). This illness causes swelling and inflammation of the small blood vessels in the body. The swelling can be especially dangerous because it can damage the blood vessels of the heart.
The clinic is staffed by pediatric heart doctors (cardiologists) who specialize in caring for children with Kawasaki disease. They are also leaders in research into the causes and more effective treatments for the disease.
What’s special about the Kawasaki Disease Clinic at Seattle Children’s?
Our team has extensive experience with the diagnosis and treatment of children with Kawasaki disease. In a typical year, we see about 40 new children with this condition. We provide ongoing care to another 500 to 600 patients with Kawasaki disease.
- Timely evaluation and treatment are essential to prevent the most serious effects of Kawasaki disease. For this reason, our specialists make seeing children with symptoms of the condition a top priority.
- Dr. Michael Portman is on the American College of Cardiology’s committee for Kawasaki disease. He is involved with creating the national guidelines for providing safe and effective care for this rare disease.
- Our pharmacists are experienced in safely providing and monitoring the special medicines that children with Kawasaki disease need.
- Some children need cardiac catheterization procedures to treat the narrowing of their arteries. We provide this treatment in one of our state-of-the-art cath labs.
What services does the Kawasaki Disease Clinic offer?
The majority of children do well after the initial swelling and inflammation from Kawasaki disease goes away. However, some children develop abnormalities in the blood vessels that supply the heart (the coronary arteries). These arteries can get larger and form sacs called aneurysms. Scar tissue might form at these aneurysms, blocking blood flow and causing permanent heart damage. These children may require more frequent clinic visits and additional tests.
We care for children who are just a few months old up through 21 years of age.
During clinic visits, the heart doctor will review your child’s history, examine your child and order tests, such as an echocardiogram and an electrocardiogram. Some patients may have blood tests at the first visit. The doctor will work with you to create a specialized plan of care for your child. They will address all your questions about how Kawasaki disease affects your child.
Clinic services include:
- Careful management of medicine and specialized pharmacy services so your child gets the medicines they need
- Exercise testing to find out whether it is safe for your child to exercise and, if so, how much
- The opportunity to participate in research into the causes and better treatment of Kawasaki disease.
Advancing Treatment for Children
Seattle Children’s is a leader in research of the causes and better treatment of Kawasaki disease.
Dr. Michael Portman leads a group that is working to:
- Develop new and more effective treatments
- Determine whether or not there is a genetic cause or a link to diet
- Develop a reliable test to diagnose the disease
New and more effective treatments
Dr. Portman is directing a multicenter research study to see whether using a new medicine, etanercept, with the standard medicine (intravenous immunoglobulin [IVIG] and aspirin) improves how patients do over the short and long term.
Identifying genetic factors
More than 600 families have enrolled in Dr. Portman’s research to identify genetic factors that make children more likely to get Kawasaki disease or that affect how they respond to treatment.
Investigating connections to diet
There is a high rate of Kawasaki disease in Asia. This has raised questions about whether particular foods might make children more likely to get it. Dr. Portman has published results of a study showing that eating soy isoflavone is associated with risk of Kawasaki disease. Read more about the connection between diet and Kawasaki disease.
Inflammation of the heart and Kawasaki disease
Dr. Michael Portman explains how his research into the causes of inflammation may lead to better treatments for Kawasaki disease.
Read more about the Portman Research Group’s activities.
Who’s on the team?
Contact the Kawasaki Disease Clinic at 206-987-2015 for a referral, a second opinion or more information.