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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.

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