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Characteristics of Cervical Computed Tomography Findings in Kawasaki Disease: A Single-Center Experience

Katsumata, Natsumi MD*; Aoki, Jun MD, PhD; Tashiro, Masahiko MD, PhD; Taketomi-Takahashi, Ayako MD, PhD*; Tsushima, Yoshito MD, PhD*

Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography: September/October 2013 - Volume 37 - Issue 5 - p 681–685
doi: 10.1097/RCT.0b013e31829d1965

Purpose: The objective of this study was to characterize cervical computed tomography (CT) findings in Kawasaki disease (KD) patients that may facilitate early diagnosis.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed cervical CT images of 78 children with cervical lymphadenopathy to analyze the distribution and morphology of lymphadenopathy and other soft-tissue findings.

Results: Twenty-eight patients were diagnosed with KD. Fifty had other diseases (non-KD). Retropharyngeal edema was observed in 82% (23/28) of KD and 30% (15/50) of non-KD (P < 0.01) cases. Retropharyngeal lymphadenopathy was observed in 89% (25/28) of KD and 48% (24/50) of non-KD (P < 0.01) cases. Levels III and IV lymphadenopathy was found in only 1 KD case, whereas levels III and IV lymphadenopathy was found in 58% (29/50) (P < 0.01) and 36% (18/50) (P < 0.01) of non-KD cases, respectively.

Conclusions: Retropharyngeal lymphadenopathy and retropharyngeal edema are relatively common features of KD on CT. Given the potentially serious complications of KD, this diagnosis is an important consideration in a young child presenting with these imaging findings.

From the *Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine, and Departments of †Radiology and ‡Pediatrics, Gunma General Hospital, Gunma, Japan.

Received for publication November 20, 2012; accepted May 21, 2013.

Reprints: Natsumi Katsumata, MD, Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine, 3-39-22 Showa-machi, Maebashi, Gunma 371-8511, Japan (e-mail:

None of the authors have any conflicts of interest associated with this study.

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins