39% of babies diagnosed with Kawasaki Disease develop serious heart damage – new study shows

39% of babies diagnosed with Kawasaki Disease develop serious heart damage – new study shows

Awareness of Kawasaki Disease is URGENT” – says Societi, the U.K. Foundation for Kawasaki Disease


  • Kawasaki Disease is the #1 cause of acquired heart disease in children in most continents
  • In the UK & Ireland, research shows 39% of infants with Kawasaki Disease develop coronary artery aneurysms, even when treated
  • Children’s risk of heart damage from Kawasaki Disease in the UK & Ireland is currently among the highest recorded globally
  • UK treatment times for Kawasaki Disease are still too slow, study finds
  • Outcomes from Kawasaki Disease in the UK remain unchanged since the 1990s

Children at Risk

On World Heart Day, Societi Foundation, the UK Foundation for Kawasaki Disease is highlighting shocking findings from the newly published British Paediatric Surveillance Unit (BPSU) study, following two years of detailed research into Kawasaki Disease in the UK and Ireland. The study found that children’s risk of heart damage from Kawasaki Disease is currently among the highest recorded globally – putting our children at risk.

Worrying Findings

A shocking 39% of infants (babies under one) affected by Kawasaki Disease had serious heart damage – and up to 20% of all children developed coronary artery aneurysms. These children now need specialist care – for life.

Time to act!

Dr Jacqueline Cornish OBE, NHS England Clinical Director for Children, Young People and Transition to Adulthood said “Kawasaki Disease is increasingly common, yet this research shows no improvement in outcomes for children since the last study in the 1990’s.  This serious disease presents a real threat to children’s heart health.  Doctors need to be alert to Kawasaki Disease and treat rapidly if it’s suspected.”

Urgent change needed

Study author Professor Robert Tulloh said “We found children treated after 7 days from disease onset to be at significantly increased risk of serious heart damage – this risk increases with any further delay. The Kawasaki Disease therapeutic adage of ‘treatment within 10 days’ is no longer fit for purpose – our response to this disease must urgently change.”

Richard Lynn, Scientific Officer for the BPSU said “25 years after the first BPSU Kawasaki Disease study, it is concerning to see a continued increase in cases and still delays in diagnosing and treating children. Investment for raising awareness and continued research into this potentially fatal condition is urgently needed.”

Kawasaki Disease – Must be on everyone’s radar

Rachael McCormack, Founder of Societi said “Awareness is key – Societi Foundation is working to build knowledge so that all clinicians treating children can recognise Kawasaki Disease – and know to treat it urgently.  For too long Kawasaki Disease has been described as something doctors “won’t see”. It’s now increasingly common – it’s got to be on everyone’s radar, if doctors are to recognise it – in time.”