Background: We compared the efficacy and safety of additional intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) therapy with steroid pulse therapy in patients with IVIG-resistant Kawasaki disease.
Methods: Two-hundred and sixty-two consecutive patients had been treated with a single dose of IVIG (2 g/kg) and aspirin (30 mg/kg per day). Thirty-five patients (13.4%) were not clinical responders to the initial IVIG treatment. They received an additional IVIG treatment (1 g/kg) within 48 h after the initial treatment. Seventeen patients (6.5%) did not respond to the additional IVIG treatment. We randomly divided these patients into two groups: group 1 consisted of eight patients who were treated with a single additional dose of IVIG (1 g/kg), while group 2 consisted of nine patients who were treated with steroid pulse therapy.
Results: The IVIG-resistant patients had a high incidence of coronary artery lesions (CAL; 48.6%). Five patients (62.5%) in group 1 had CAL, including two patients who each had a giant aneurysm and three patients who each had a small aneurysm. Seven patients (77.8%) in group 2 had CAL, including two patients who each had a giant aneurysm, two patients who each had a small coronary aneurysm and three patients who each showed transient dilatation during steroid pulse therapy. There was no significant difference in the incidence of CAL between the two groups. The duration of high fever in group 2 (1.4~0.7 days) was significantly shorter than in group 1 (4.8~3.4 days; P<0.05). The medical costs for the treatment of patients in group 2 (113, 012 yen +/- 22,084) were significantly lower than those for group 1 (144,194 yen +/- 12,914; P<0.05).
Conclusions: Steroid pulse therapy may be useful in the treatment of patients with IVIG-resistant Kawasaki disease who experience prolonged fever. However, transient dilatation of the coronary artery is observed during steroid pulse therapy, so careful echocardiographic examination should be performed for those patients receiving steroid pulse therapy for the sake of early detection of coronary artery abnormalities.