Why Is IVIG Used For Kawasaki Disease?
Kawasaki disease is a rare disease of children that affects blood vessels, mucous membranes and lymph nodes of the body. It can be treated successfully with medicines and the affected child recovers completely within a few weeks of treatment. In a few cases, it can induce heart-related complications in children if not treated properly. To tackle them, gamma immunoglobulin is used that can render positive results as discussed below.
Why Is IVIG Used For Kawasaki Disease?
IVIG is derived from antibodies of healthy donors and is injected through the vein. It is used in place of other medicines like immunosuppressant, corticosteroids or biologic drugs. Its main role is to treat disorders related to the immune system. In some cases, IVIG is also used along with immunosuppressant medicines to control the overactive immune system. (1)
IVIG is used in children with Kawasaki disease with high success rate. In this disease, gamma globulin is used to reduce the symptoms. It is an autoimmune disorder.
Normally, the body's immune system produces antibodies to combat infections. In Kawasaki disease, the immune system is so weak that it cannot make sufficient antibodies. Thus, patients are unable to fight infections. IVIG in Kawasaki disease can relieve fever, infections, and the risk of heart problems. After administration of IVIG through veins, the affected child improves well in 36-40 hours. If the fever does not reduce after 36 hours of the first dose of IVIG, its second dose is preferred.
In a research study, it is stated that use of intravenous immunoglobulin in first 10 days of this disease significantly lower downs the risk of irreversible damage to the coronary arteries, thereby reduces the chances of coronary heart diseases. It is also found that the children who do not respond to IVIG in the first 10 days of the disease are at higher risk of developing heart-related complications.
Kawasaki disease is an inflammatory disease of children. It causes inflammation of the lymph nodes, mucous membrane, and walls of blood vessels. It develops in young children under the age of 5 years. However, it may affect older children, teenagers, and adults. It affects males more than females. It can also damage blood vessels of the heart that may cause serious heart ailments in the future.
Kawasaki disease was first explored by Tomisaku Kawasaki in the year 1967. However, the disease was present for a long time. It is one of the main causes of heart ailments in children.
Kawasaki Disease Treatment
The treatment of Kawasaki disease is started soon after the symptoms appear. It is started even if the child has a fever soon after the diagnosis to prevent heart complications. The child is hospitalized and the treatment is initiated aiming at the reduction of fever and inflammation.
The medicines that are prescribed for KD are-
Aspirin- high doses of aspirin is preferred in the beginning to control inflammation. It reduces fever, pain, and inflammation in the joints. The doses of aspirin are given to children only in this disease. It should be given under the supervision of a pediatrician.
Gamma Globulin- an immune protein (gamma globulin) is infused intravenously to lower down the chances of coronary artery diseases.
Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG)
Intravenous immunoglobulin is a therapy used to fight infections in the weakened immune system. The diseases that can be treated by IVIG are-
- Immune thrombocytopenia
- Kawasaki disease
- Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
- Myasthenia gravis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Bone marrow transplantation
Kawasaki disease tends to impose heart-related complications. IVIG or gamma immunoglobulin can play a significant role in the eradication of the risk of heart diseases. It is usually given in the form of injections into the veins. It can reduce the exaggerated action of the immune system. It also reduces fever, combats infections and decreases the risks of heart diseases if given within the first 10 days of the disease.