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Although most Kawasaki disease with giant coronary aneurysms is asymptomatic, conventional investigations might not identify previous lesions, or all Kawasaki disease with giant aneurysms at risk of future myocardial lesions. We evaluated the long-term histopathology of the myocardium, especially of intramural small vessels in asymptomatic Kawasaki disease with giant aneurysms.
The initial study comprised 16 consecutive Kawasaki patients – male-to-female ratio was 12:4 – aged from 2 to 12 years, and in the subsequent study, the same patients were aged from 4.9 to 16 years. Endomyocardial biopsies were histopathologically evaluated. Microangiopathies, mitochondrial abnormalities, and loss or disarray of myofibrils were compared by electron microscopy.
The incidence of histopathological abnormalities such as degeneration, hypertrophy, and inflammatory cell infiltration was quite high in the initial study, and inflammatory cell infiltration, interstitial fibrosis, and disarray were very noticeable at follow-up biopsies. The area of fibrous tissue was significantly higher in patients administered with intravenous immunoglobulin at follow-up biopsies. Electron microscopy showed microangiopathies including microthrombi within intramural small vessels in some patients at follow-up biopsies. The sites of the coronary aneurysms did not seem to have an impact on the biopsy findings, suggesting that the underlying pathophysiology is related to the original disease process.
Whether the abnormalities were due to direct myocardial injury, chronic ischaemia, repeated small-vessel thrombosis, or other problems associated only with biopsies, is difficult to determine. However, this subgroup had residual abnormal lesions in the myocardium. Follow-up should be more aggressive in this group of patients to identify myocardial damage that could be asymptomatic.
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