Kawasaki Disease: No Link to Travolta Death
Childhood Kawasaki Disease Unlikely Cause of Seizures in Travolta's Teenage Son Jett Travolta
Kawasaki Disease and Heart Trouble
"The most troublesome feature of Kawasaki disease is involvement of the
heart," Litman says. "What worries everyone is that in the convalescent
phase, about 10 days into the illness, there may be inflammation of the
coronary arteries, which can result in aneurysm formation. This can cause
turbulence throughout the artery and cause [narrowing] of the artery, which
could cause a heart attack."
If not treated, one in five children with Kawasaki disease would get
coronary aneurysms. Fortunately, treatment cuts this risk to about one in
Treatment involves a high dose of immune globulin and a high-dose aspirin until the fever goes down. Once the fever goes
away, the child's aspirin dose is reduced and doctors perform an echocardiogram
to check for heart abnormalities.
"This generally results in a return to a happy state," Litman says.
"In kids who do develop aneurysms, some may resolve, but this may still be
a forerunner of adult-type coronary artery disease. They may be left with
residual stenosis [narrowing of a heart artery] that can cause a future heart
So if Kawasaki disease didn't cause Jett Travolta's seizures, what did?
Seizures are the result of an electrical storm in a part of the brain. Some
people simply develop frequent seizures for no apparent reason. Sometimes the
cause is a trauma, infection, or tumor.
Media reports have suggested that Jett Travolta may have suffered from autism. The Church of
Scientology, of which his parents are members, does not believe that autism is
a valid diagnosis, and the Travolta family has rejected the idea that Jett had
However, among children diagnosed with autism, there is a high prevalence of