Severe malaria--analysis of prognostic symptoms and signs in 169 patients treated in Gdynia in 1991-2005.

01 Jan 2006
Goljan J, Nahorski WL, Wroczyńska A, Felczak-Korzybska I, Pietkiewicz H

In the period 1991-2005, 169 patients with the diagnosis of malaria were hospitalized in the Department of Tropical and Parasitic Diseases, Institute of Maritime and Tropical Medicine in Gdynia (from 2003--the Academic Centre of Maritime and Tropical Medicine, Medical University of Gdańsk). All the cases were analysed for severity, occurrence of complications and permanent sequelae of the disease. According to the criteria set by the WHO (5), malaria was classified as severe in 36 cases. All of them were Plasmodium falciparum infections or mixed infections: P. f. and another species of the parasite. Patients in this group developed a number of complications, inter alia shock, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), acute renal failure, blackwater fever, severe anemia, disseminated intravascular coagulation, myocarditis, consciousness disorders of varied degree, acute transient psychoses, and exacerbation of ischemic heart disease. In one case of a pregnant woman, necrosis of the fetus occurred in the course of disease in the 4th month of pregnancy. Moreover, meningoencephalitis was diagnosed in two patients--in one of them concurrently with symptoms and signs of malaria, while in the other one-3 weeks after the symptoms subsided. In 6 patients, permanent sequelae of the disease developed and in 4 patients the disease was fatal. The cause of death was multi-organ failure, with the first sign of poor prognosis being rapidly progressing renal failure resistant to treatment in three men; in one case death resulted from cerebral malaria. In cases of suspected malaria, relapsing malaria or in mixed infections, molecular testing was a valuable complementary tool of diagnosis, which helped in beginning the appropriate treatment.