Kawasaki Disease | Symptoms | MedStar Health

A rare disease that causes inflammation of the blood vessels

Kawasaki disease primarily affects the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscles, but it can cause inflammation in other vessels throughout the body. The exact cause of Kawasaki disease is unknown.

Although rarely diagnosed in adults, Kawasaki disease’s symptoms may include:

  • High fever

  • Peeling skin starting around the nails

  • Swollen, red tongue

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Rash

  • Red eyes, palms, or soles of the feet

Kawasaki disease can cause aneurysms, myocarditis, heart valve complications, or heart disease. Treatment within 10 days of the start of symptoms usually is effective at preventing these complications.


We often use blood tests and echocardiograms to diagnose Kawasaki disease.

Angiogram (Angiography)

An angiogram is a special X-ray taken as a special dye is injected through a thin, flexible tube called a catheter to detect blockages or aneurysms in blood vessels.

Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive way to diagnose and treat a variety of heart and vascular conditions by guiding thin, flexible tubes called catheters through blood vessels to problem areas. 

Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan

The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.


An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.

Fractional Flow Reserve

Fractional flow reserve, also known as FFR, is a measurement of how well blood can flow through the coronary arteries. Narrowing or blockages in these arteries can lead to a heart attack without treatment.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging, better known as cardiac MRI, is a combination of radio waves, magnets, and computer technology used to create images of your heart and blood vessels.

Pulse Volume Recording

Pulse volume recording tests are used to evaluate blood flow through the arteries in your arms or legs.

Stress Tests

Stress tests are used to assess how your heart works during physical activity. There are several types of stress tests, including treadmill or bike stress tests, nuclear stress tests, stress echocardiograms, and chemically induced stress tests.


Your doctor will create an individualized treatment plan. This will likely include medication such as aspirin and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG).


Angioplasty improves blood flow through the arteries by clearing plaque buildup.

Coronary Artery Stenting

Coronary artery stents are small mesh tubes placed within the artery to prevent blockages and allow better blood flow.

Transradial Catheterization

Transradial catheterization is a form of cardiac catheterization in which doctors use the radial artery, located in the wrist, to treat many heart and vascular conditions.

Ask MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

Have general questions for our heart and vascular program? Email us at AskMHVI@medstar.net. If you have clinically-specific questions, please contact your physician’s office.