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Trop Med Int Health. 1998 Feb;3(2):156-61.

Exchange transfusion as an adjunct to the treatment of severe falciparum malaria.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Chumphorn Hospital, Thailand.



To compare the efficacy of exchange transfusion as the adjunct to quinine treatment (21 patients) with quinine therapy alone (29 patients).


A retrospective study of 50 patients with severe falciparum malaria was conducted at Chumphorn Hospital, Southern Thailand.


Clinical characteristics in both treatment groups were not significantly different although in the exchange transfusion group, the admission geometric mean parasitaemia (18 (5%), and the proportion of patients with more than 10% parasitaemia was higher (76%, P = 0.03) than in the group who received quinine alone (10 +/- 4%; 38%, P = 0.1). The mortality rate of patients who received exchange transfusion was 48%; that of the remainder, 69%. (P = 0.3). ARDS (P = 0.01) and oliguric renal failure (P = 0.04) were significant risk factors for death in these patients.


Exchange transfusion was safe and well tolerated. Results of our study revealed a 20% reduction in mortality when exchange transfusion was used as an adjunct to quinine treatment. It should therefore be considered in patients with severe falciparum malaria when possible.

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