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Rev Clin Esp. 1998 Aug;198(8):509-13.

[Severe and complicated malaria. Report of six cases].

[Article in Spanish]

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Unidad de Medicina Intensiva, Hospital La Fe, Valencia.


Six patients with severe and complicated falciparum malaria (6.7 +/- 2.7 WHO criteria) were admitted to our Intensive Care Unit. All patients acquired the disease while travelling in tropical Africa without appropriate chemoprophylaxis. The clinical manifestations included hyperpyrexia (all patients), chills (4), sweating (2), asthenia (3), anorexia (2), headache (1), arthralgias (1), vomiting (4), diarrhoea or abdominal discomfort (3), jaundice (2) and disturbances of consciousness (4). All patients had anemia, thrombocytopenia, hyponatremia, hypoproteinemia, hypoalbuminemia, hypocalcemia and acute renal failure, in one case associated with anuria. A low grade parasitemia was observed in two patients and a high grade parasitemia (20%-58% of erythrocytes) in four. Exchange transfusion was performed only in high parasitemic patients and all of them survived. All patients were treated with quinine, a sulfonamide and pyrimethamine. Additionally, five patients received oxytetracycline, doxycycline or clindamycin. Three patients required hemodyalisis. Five patients had delirium, coma or seizures. All patients had at least one sign of hepatic impairment: liver enlargement, jaundice or increased bilirubin or aminotransferase levels. Two patients had spleen enlargement. Laboratory findings suggested disseminated intravascular coagulation in four patients. Four patients developed pulmonary changes and three of them required mechanical ventilation. A Swan-Ganz catheter was placed in four patients. In three of them (two with pulmonary edema) the pulmonary capillary wedge pressure was initially increased, which suggested a cardiogenic or hypervolemia mechanism, but soon returned to normal level. One patient with low grade parasitemia died because of adult respiratory distress syndrome after 18 days. In our series, the degree of parasitemia was not related to the severity of the disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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