Application of Patient-Specific Hemodynamics to the
Treatment of Kawasaki Disease

By Megan Mayerle, PhD

April 24, 2019

One of the goals of precision medicine is to provide patient-specific therapeutics and treatment plans, allowing patients to avoid onerous, ineffective interventions. In order to reach this goal, clinical tools and techniques that can be used to diagnose and monitor diseases are essential.

Kawasaki disease causes inflammation in arterial walls throughout the body and is most prevalent in children under the age of five. While most children recover, Kawasaki disease can cause coronary artery aneurisms, which can lead to thrombosis. To prevent this, many patients are prescribed anticoagulants. However, guidelines surrounding anticoagulant use are based on limited evidence and rely on anatomical measurements alone, without considering the impact of flow patterns.

Stanford researchers Noelia Grande Gutierrez, Alison L. Marsden, and colleagues have come up with an innovative solution to this problem. They developed a computational fluid dynamics simulation that uses information derived from non-invasive vascular imaging data to provide patient-specific hemodynamic measurements to aid in the assessment of Kawasaki disease associated aneurysms. The hemodynamic variables identified by Gutierrez et al. are superior to traditionally used anatomical measurements for KD aneurysms assessment and can be used to identify aneurysmal regions at higher risk of thrombosis.  In the future, personalized hemodynamics could help doctors determine how and when to use anticoagulants for Kawasaki disease patients.

The study was published in the April 15 issue of the International Journal of Cardiology.

Dr. Alison Marsden

Dr. Noelia Grande Gutierrez