Recent updates on echocardiography and ultrasound for Kawasaki disease: beyond the coronary artery

Nobutaka Noto, Akiko Komori, Mamoru Ayusawa, Shori Takahashi


Kawasaki disease (KD) is a systemic vasculitis with a predilection for damage to the coronary arteries. In the acute phase, clinical decision making for KD relies on the measurements of the coronary z-score obtained by 2-dimensional echocardiography (2DE). In the convalescent phase, KD patients with coronary artery abnormalities (CAAs) eventually show arteriosclerotic vascular remodeling characterized by marked intimal proliferation and neoangiogenesis after KD vasculitis, which often induces myocardial ischemia. To date, several well-established surrogate markers including dobutamine stress echocardiography (DSE), the carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) and flow-mediated dilatation (FMD), have been made available for risk assessment and the prediction of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in KD patients. Additionally, the use of carotid contrast-enhanced ultrasonography (CEUS), has enabled the visualization and quantification of the adventitial vasa vasorum (VV) network, assessing active vascular remodeling at remote arterial sites in KD patients with CAAs. However, there was no evidence of major vascular structural changes in KD patients in whom CAAs had never been detected. Thus, assessment of multiple modalities using 2DE may provide direct information not only on the vascular health but also on the stratification of the risk of CVD in KD patients with CAAs.