American Heart Association
Recent reports of children experiencing Kawasaki disease, possibly tied to the COVID-19 pandemic, are raising concerns among patients and pediatricians. COVID-19 infection leading to critical illness in children remains very infrequent. According to the leaders of the American Heart Association’s Council on Lifelong Congenital Heart Disease and Heart Health in the Young (Young Hearts), a few patients display symptoms found in other pediatric inflammatory conditions, most notably Kawasaki disease. Kawasaki disease is a rare condition that presents with a fever above 102°F to 104°F for at least five days, swelling of the lymph nodes, inflammation, a rash and other symptoms. Children with this new, possibly COVID-19-related syndrome may have some or all the features of Kawasaki disease. “We want to reassure parents – this appears to be uncommon. While Kawasaki disease can damage the heart or blood vessels, the heart problems usually go away in five or six weeks, and most children fully recover,” said Jane Newburger, M.D., M.P.H., FAHA, American Heart Association Young Hearts Council member, associate cardiologist-in-chief, academic affairs; medical director of the neurodevelopmental program; and director of the Kawasaki Program at Boston Children’s Hospital; and Commonwealth Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.