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The clinical and laboratory features of severe falciparum malaria in 180 Gambian children were studied between 1985 and 1989. Of the 180 children, 118 (66%) presented with seizures, 77 (43%) had cerebral malaria, 35 (20%) had witnessed seizures after admission, 29 (16%) were hypoglycemic, and 27 (15%) died. Respiratory distress was a common harbinger of a fatal outcome. The differences in admission parasite counts in the blood, hematocrit, and opening cerebrospinal pressures for patients who died and survivors were not significant. A multiple logistic regression model identified neurological status (coma, particularly if associated with extensor posturing), stage of parasite development on the peripheral blood film, pulse rate of > 150 or respiratory rate of > 50, hypoglycemia, and hyperlactatemia (plasma lactate level, > 5 mmol/L) as independent indicators of a fatal outcome. Biochemical evidence of hepatic and renal dysfunction was an additional marker of a poor prognosis, but, in contrast to severe malaria in adults, none of these children with severe malaria had acute renal failure.

Original publication

DOI

10.1093/clinids/21.3.577

Type

Journal article

Journal

Clin Infect Dis

Publication Date

09/1995

Volume

21

Pages

577 - 587

Keywords

Adult, Age Factors, Child, Child, Preschool, Female, Gambia, Humans, Malaria, Cerebral, Malaria, Falciparum, Male, Prognosis, Prospective Studies, Survival Rate