Objective: To evaluate and describe the epidemiologic characteristics of Kawasaki syndrome (KS) hospitalizations in Georgia.
Design: We reviewed hospital discharge data and corresponding medical records for Georgian patients discharged with a KS diagnosis during 1997 and 1998.
Results: During the study period, 233 KS hospital discharges were recorded in Georgia; 177 (76%) were for children younger than 5 years. Twenty-one (9%) of 233 of the hospital discharges represented multiple hospitalizations. Medical records for 211 KS discharges (91%), representing 197 patients (93%), were reviewed. For those 189 patients whose medical records were reviewed and had sufficient information, 139 (74%) either had a documented illness that met the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) definition for KS (n = 135) or had coronary artery abnormalities without meeting the CDC definition for KS (atypical KS; n = 4). Eight patients had only a history of KS. Excluding multiple hospitalizations and patients with only a history of KS, 158 hospitalizations were for patients younger than 5 years (14.0 per 100 000 children); 110 of these patients met the KS or atypical KS definition (9.8 per 100 000 children).
Conclusions: Hospital discharge data are useful for KS surveillance. However, analysis of hospital discharge data may slightly overestimate the KS hospitalization rates because some discharges may represent multiple hospitalizations or hospitalizations of patients with only a history of KS. The incidence and epidemiology of KS in Georgia are consistent with findings from other continental US studies. Physicians should exercise their best clinical judgment in identifying and treating patients with KS who may not meet standard case definitions.