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West Afr J Med. 2002 Oct-Dec;21(4):276-9.

Low plasma bicarbonate predicts poor outcome of cerebral malaria in Nigerian children.

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Department of Paediatrics, College of Medical Sciences, University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri, Nigeria.


Malaria remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality in many sub Saharan countries and cerebral malaria is widely recognised as one of its most fatal forms. We studied the predictive value of routine biochemical laboratory indices in predicting the outcome of cerebral malaria in 50 Nigerian children ages 9 months to 6 years with cerebral malaria at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria. Of the 50 children studied, 43 (68%) made a full recovery, 5 (105) developed neurological sequelae while 11(22%) died. Biochemical derangements observed among the children included azotaemia (29%), elevated plasma creatinine (20%), metabolic acidiosis (22%) and hyponatraemia (16%). Metabolic acidosis and elevated plasma creatinine on admission were significantly associated with a poor outcome (p < 0.05). Hyponatraemia and hypokalaemia were not significantly associated with outcome. On multivariated analysis, metabolic acidosis and elevated plasma creatinine on admission to hospital remained independent predictors of poor outcome after adjusting for other known risk factors. Patients with these findings require prompt referral for adequate treatment in centres equipped to manage such critically ill patients.

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