Is it Kawasaki Disease or Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children?

Published:November 02, 2021DOI:


      • Kawasaki disease should be considered in any child with a prolonged fever.
      • Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children have similar clinical features.
      • The etiology of Kawasaki disease is unknown but is suspected to be a virus.
      • The systemic inflammation affects all the medium-sized arteries of multiple organs.
      • Early identification and treatment can prevent coronary artery abnormalities.


      Kawasaki disease is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children and most frequently affects infants and young children. This disease is a systemic vasculitis that invades medium-sized arteries, including the coronary arteries. Coronary arteritis can begin as early as day 6 of fever and lead to permanent damage. Thus, early recognition and treatment significantly reduces the risk for developing coronary artery aneurysms. The overlapping clinical features of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children secondary to COVID-19 could potentially contribute to a delay in the identification of Kawasaki disease. The clinical similarities and differences are discussed, along with recent guidelines.


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      Katie Cobb Thrift, RN, is a graduate student at Clemson University, Clemson, SC, and a nurse in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Spartanburg Medical Center, Spartanburg, SC; she can be contacted at [email protected] .


      Janice S.Withycombe, PhD, RN, CCRP, and Heide S. Temples, PhD, PPCNP-BC, IBCLC, are associate professors at Clemson University School of Nursing, Greenville, SC.