Cardiac Biomarkers Aid in Differentiation of Kawasaki Disease from Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children Associated with COVID-19

Mollie Walton, Geetha Raghuveer, Ashraf Harahsheh, Michael A. Portman, Simon Lee, Michael Khoury, Nagib Dahdah, Marianna Fabi, Audrey Dionne, Tyler H. Harris, Nadine Choueiter, Luis Martin Garrido-Garcia, Supriya Jain, Frédéric Dallaire, Nilanjana Misra, Mark D. Hicar, Therese M. Giglia, Dongngan T. Truong, Elif Seda Selamet Tierney, Deepika ThackerTodd T. Nowlen, Jacqueline R. Szmuszkovicz, Kambiz Norozi, William B. Orr, Pedrom Farid, Cedric Manlhiot, Brian W. McCrindle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Kawasaki disease (KD) and Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19 show clinical overlap and both lack definitive diagnostic testing, making differentiation challenging. We sought to determine how cardiac biomarkers might differentiate KD from MIS-C. The International Kawasaki Disease Registry enrolled contemporaneous KD and MIS-C pediatric patients from 42 sites from January 2020 through June 2022. The study population included 118 KD patients who met American Heart Association KD criteria and compared them to 946 MIS-C patients who met 2020 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention case definition. All included patients had at least one measurement of amino-terminal prohormone brain natriuretic peptide (NTproBNP) or cardiac troponin I (TnI), and echocardiography. Regression analyses were used to determine associations between cardiac biomarker levels, diagnosis, and cardiac involvement. Higher NTproBNP (≥ 1500 ng/L) and TnI (≥ 20 ng/L) at presentation were associated with MIS-C versus KD with specificity of 77 and 89%, respectively. Higher biomarker levels were associated with shock and intensive care unit admission; higher NTproBNP was associated with longer hospital length of stay. Lower left ventricular ejection fraction, more pronounced for MIS-C, was also associated with higher biomarker levels. Coronary artery involvement was not associated with either biomarker. Higher NTproBNP and TnI levels are suggestive of MIS-C versus KD and may be clinically useful in their differentiation. Consideration might be given to their inclusion in the routine evaluation of both conditions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPediatric Cardiology
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Amino-terminal prohormone brain natriuretic peptide (NTproBNP)
  • Cardiac biomarkers
  • Kawasaki disease (KD)
  • Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)
  • Troponin I (TnI)


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