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Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl. 2019 Jul-Aug;30(4):960-963. doi: 10.4103/1319-2442.265474.

Acute kidney injury due to acute cortical necrosis following vivax malaria.

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Department of Nephrology, Army Hospital Research and Referral, New Delhi, India.


Malaria is a parasitic infection of global importance but has a high prevalence in the developing countries. Renal failure is a common complication of severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria and has been reported in up to 40% of all cases. Acute kidney injury (AKI), however, is not commonly associated with Plasmodium vivax infection. In those patients who develop AKI following P. vivax infection, the cause is commonly attributed to mixed undiagnosed falciparum infection or coexistent sepsis, dehydration, or hypotension. Infrequently, an association of P. vivax infection with thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) has been reported. The purpose of this report is to describe renal failure due to TMA following malaria caused by P. vivax. A 24-year-old female presented with a history of fever and jaundice of two weeks duration followed by progressive oliguria and swelling of the face and feet five days after the onset of fever. The evaluation revealed normal blood pressure, anemia, thrombocytopenia, azotemia, unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia with mildly elevated transaminases, and elevated lactate dehydrogenase. Peripheral smear was positive for P. vivax, and schistocytes were seen. She was given intravenous artesunate followed by oral primaquine for 14 days. Urine examination showed proteinuria and microscopic hematuria. She remained oliguric and dialysis dependent, and her kidney biopsy revealed patchy cortical necrosis involving 40% of sampled cortex with widespread fibrinoid necrosis of the vessel wall, red blood cell fragmentation, and luminal thrombotic occlusion. Hemodialysis was discontinued after three weeks when there was the improvement of renal function over time, and her serum creatinine decreased to 2.2 mg/dL by six weeks. Patients with P. vivax malaria developing renal failure may have TMA. Renal biopsy, if performed early in the course of the disease, may identify TMA and institution of plasma exchange in such patients could help in early recovery.

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