Evaluation of complications and factors associated with multi-organ dysfunction in malaria: a cross sectional study

Nishanth Dev, Jhuma Sankar, B. Lall


Background: Prevalence of complications in malaria continues to grow even with reducing number of malaria cases. Complications associated with malaria can involve multiple organs. There is paucity of literature on factors associated with multi organ dysfunction in different types of malaria.

Methods: Our aim was to study the clinical profile of complications in different types of malaria with specific focus on multi-organ dysfunction (MODS). In this cross-sectional study confirmed cases of malaria were enrolled.

Results: Plasmodium vivax malaria was the predominant type seen in 74.1% cases. The overall prevalence of thrombocytopenia was 61.5%, hepatic dysfunction 58%, cerebral malaria 16.1%, Hypoglycemia 7.5%, bleeding 34.5%, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) 5.7% and acute kidney injury (AKI) 49.4%. Hypoglycemia was significantly higher in mixed malaria (0.025, p = 0.025). Hepatic dysfunction and hyperbilirubinemia were significantly higher in mixed malaria (p=0.001). Mortality was seen in mixed malaria (p = 0.007). Only those with mixed malaria died (13%). Patients with MODS had higher prevalence of rashes (p <0.0001) and cerebral malaria (p = 0.000). Serum levels of urea, creatinine, Bilirubin, Serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (SGOT) and Serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase (SGPT) were significantly higher in patients with MODS (p<0.0001 for all variables). On evaluating factors associated with multi-organ dysfunction presence of cerebral malaria [OR: 6.4 (95% CI): 2.4 to 17.4; p<0.0001], type of malaria (Vivax or Falciparum or both) [1.77 (1.03 to 3.03); p=0.0038], and hypoglycemia [4.4 (1.08 to 17.8); p=0.038] were statistically significant on multivariate analysis.

Conclusions: The present study demonstrates the factors associated with multi organ dysfunction and its impact on clinical outcome in different types of malaria.


Cerebral malaria, Hyperbilirubinemia, Mixed Malaria, Multi organ dysfunction

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