Hypertension is associated with an increased risk for severe imported falciparum malaria: a tertiary care hospital based observational study from Berlin, Germany.
Increasing numbers of aging individuals with chronic co-morbidities travel to regions where falciparum malaria is endemic. Non-communicable diseases are now leading risk factors for death in such countries. Thus, the influence of chronic diseases on the outcome of falciparum malaria is an issue of major importance. Aim of the present study was to assess whether non-communicable diseases increase the risk for severe imported falciparum malaria.
A retrospective observational study of all adult cases with imported falciparum malaria hospitalized between 2001 and 2015 in the tertiary care Charité University Hospital, Berlin, was performed.
A total of 536 adult patients (median age 37 years; 31.3% female) were enrolled. Of these, 329 (61.4%) originated from endemic countries, 207 patients (38.6%) from non-endemic regions. Criteria for severe malaria were fulfilled in 68 (12.7%) cases. With older age, lack of previous malaria episodes, being a tourist, and delayed presentation, well-characterized risk factors were associated with severe malaria in univariate analysis. After adjustment for these potential confounders hypertension (adjusted odds ratio aOR, 3.06 95% confidence interval, CI 1.34-7.02), cardiovascular diseases (aOR, 8.20 95% CI 2.30-29.22), and dyslipidaemia (aOR, 6.08 95% CI 1.13-32.88) were individual diseases associated with severe disease in multivariable logistic regression. Hypertension proved an independent risk factor among individuals of endemic (aOR, 4.83, 95% CI 1.44-16.22) as well as of non-endemic origin (aOR, 3.60 95% CI 1.05-12.35).
In imported falciparum malaria hypertension and its related diseases are risk factors for severe disease.