Published: 2018-01-18

Study of neurological manifestations in patients of falciparum malaria

Malati Murmu, Ayaskanta Kar, Karun Mahesh KP, Manoranjan Naik, Rajesh Kumar Meher


Background: Several types of neurological manifestations are associated with falciparum malaria. Cerebral malaria is one of the most dreaded complications. A significant number of survivors are left with disabling neurological sequelae, most of which are self-limiting. Neurological involvement is more frequent with falciparum malaria because of its unique characteristics leading to micro-vascular involvement.

Methods: Present study was conducted at department of General Medicine, VIMSAR, Burla (Odisha). This observational study included in total 110 patients, who were confirmed cases of falciparum malaria. Clinical profile including detailed neurological examination with relevant investigations was done. Spectrum of neuropsychiatric manifestations were observed.

Results: Out of 110 patients male and female ratio was 1:1 (M 55 and F 55). The mean age of presentation in male was 36.09 + 14.85 yrs. and in female was 31.85 + 14.00 yrs. The major presenting symptoms were fever, headache, vomiting, altered sensorium, altered behaviour and convulsions in their decreasing order of frequency. On neurological evaluation, diminished level of consciousness was found in 56.4% cases. 14% cases had GCS score ≤ 7 and 63% had GCS score ≥ 11. Convulsion was found in 31% cases, cranial neuropathy in 10.9%, cerebellar dysfunction in 12.7%, neck rigidity in 22.7%, speech abnormality in 3.6%, peripheral neuropathy in 8.2%, fundoscopic changes suggestive of retinal involvement in 44.5% cases. Atypical manifestation like; Intracerebral haemorrhage, subarachnoid haemorrhage, cortical venous sinus thrombosis were also found in few cases. 32.72% patients had Neuropsychiatric manifestations at discharge in the form of focal neurological deficits, psychosis, depression, speech disorder, memory loss, cerebellar abnormality & peripheral neuropathy.

Conclusions: Neurological manifestations in falciparum malaria patients are common and encompass a wide spectrum of clinical presentation. In an endemic area, falciparum malaria should be kept as a differential diagnosis in patients presenting with atypical neurological manifestations.


Falciparum malaria, Neuropathy, Sensorium

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