Send to

Choose Destination
N Engl J Med. 1988 Oct 20;319(16):1040-7.

Blood glucose levels in Malawian children before and during the administration of intravenous quinine for severe falciparum malaria.

Author information

Department of Community Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing.

Erratum in

  • N Engl J Med 1989 Mar 9;320(10):676.


Hypoglycemia may develop in patients with severe untreated malaria and can complicate the course of treatment with parenteral quinine as a result of quinine-induced hyperinsulinemia. Intravenous quinine is used increasingly as the therapy of choice in patients with severe malaria, most of whom are children. To assess the importance of both pretreatment and quinine-related hypoglycemia in children in an area in which the disease is endemic, we prospectively studied 95 Malawian children with falciparum malaria and altered consciousness who were treated with intravenous quinine. Nineteen patients had hypoglycemia before treatment. Seven (37 percent) died, and five of the survivors (26 percent) had neurologic sequelae. The corresponding values for patients who were initially normoglycemic were 4 percent and 4 percent, respectively (P less than 0.0001). Hypoglycemia was associated with low plasma insulin concentrations and with elevated plasma concentrations of lactate, alanine, and 5'-nucleotidase--a finding that suggests that impaired hepatic gluconeogenesis but not hyperinsulinemia contributes to the pathogenesis of pretreatment hypoglycemia. All patients were given quinine dihydrochloride in a 5 percent dextrose infusion, and those with hypoglycemia received 50 percent dextrose. Hypoglycemia recurred in seven of the patients with pretreatment hypoglycemia, but these episodes were also not associated with hyperinsulinemia. Of the 76 children who were initially normoglycemic, none became hypoglycemic during the course of treatment with intravenous quinine. We conclude that hypoglycemia is a frequent complication of falciparum malaria in children and that it reflects severe disease and is associated with a poor prognosis. We did not find it to be a complication of quinine treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center