Ann Lab Med.  2021 May;41(3):318-322. 10.3343/alm.2021.41.3.318.

Serum Ferritin as a Diagnostic Biomarker for Kawasaki Disease

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Samsung Changwon Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Changwon, Korea
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, Chonnam National University Hospital, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea
  • 3Department of Pharmacology and Medical Research Center for Gene Regulation, Chonnam National University Medical School, Hwasun-gun, Jeollanam-do, Korea
  • 4Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Chonnam National University Hospital, Gwangju, Korea; 5 Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine Chosun University, Gwangju, Korea


Diagnosis of Kawasaki disease (KD) is occasionally delayed because it is solely based on clinical symptoms. Previous studies have attempted to identify diagnostic biomarkers for KD. Recently, patients with KD were reported to have elevated serum ferritin levels. We investigated the usefulness of the serum ferritin level as a diagnostic biomarker for distinguishing KD from other acute febrile illnesses. Blood samples were obtained from pediatric patients with KD (N = 77) and those with other acute febrile illnesses (N = 32) between December 2007 and June 2011 for measuring various laboratory parameters, including serum ferritin levels. In patients with KD, laboratory tests were performed at diagnosis and repeated at 2, 14, and 56 days after intravenous immunoglobulin treatment. At the time of diagnosis, serum ferritin levels in patients with KD (188.8 µg/L) were significantly higher than those in patients with other acute febrile illnesses (106.8 µg/L, P = 0.003). The serum ferritin cut-off value of 120.8 µg/L effectively distinguished patients with KD from those with other acute febrile illnesses, with a sensitivity and specificity of 74.5% and 83.3%, respectively. Serum ferritin may be a useful biomarker to distinguish KD from other acute febrile illnesses.


Kawasaki disease; Diagnosis; Ferritin; Biomarker
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