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It is unclear whether all children with Kawasaki disease (KD) have increased later cardiovascular risk. The retinal microvasculature reflects changes in the microcirculation and is associated with traditional cardiovascular risk factors and events. The aim of this study was to investigate retinal microvascular parameters in two populations of patients with previous KD and control participants. We performed case-control studies of 116 (57 patients and 59 control participants) Australian and 156 (78 patients and 78 control participants) Singaporean individuals, at least two years since their acute illness. Standardised retinal photographs were graded by trained technicians using a semi-Automated software, which quantifies the retinal microvasculature (calibre, branching angle, fractal dimensions, and tortuosity). Retinal venules of Singaporean KD patients were 9.67 μm (95% CI 4.87 to 14.51, p < 0.001) larger than control participants following correction for traditional cardiovascular risk factors. An incremental increase in the size of retinal venules in those with coronary artery abnormalities was observed. There was limited evidence that retinal venules were larger in Australian KD patients with coronary artery abnormalities compared to control participants (7.34 μm, 95% CI 1.30 to 15.99, p = 0.10). Differences in retinal microvasculature were particularly evident in Singaporean KD patients. Larger retinal venules may reflect chronic inflammation and endothelial dysfunction, and are associated with coronary artery disease in adults.
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