Clinical and laboratory predictors of outcome in cerebral malaria in suburban Nigeria

Type Journal Article - The Journal of Infection in Developing Countries
Title Clinical and laboratory predictors of outcome in cerebral malaria in suburban Nigeria
Volume 7
Issue 08
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
Page numbers 600-607
Introduction: Cerebral malaria (CM) is an important cause of morbidity and mortality among children living in the tropics. The present study
was conducted to update the knowledge on cerebral malaria in children.
Methodology: This was a prospective study conducted between June 2009 and February 2010. Consecutive children who met the clinical and
parasitological diagnostic criteria for CM were admitted and studied. Demographic, essential history, clinical examination findings and
laboratory results were recorded and analyzed. Outcome in survivors (presence or absence of neurological deficits) were determined at
Results: Out of 1,202 children admitted during the study period, 66 (5.5%) had CM: 40 boys and 26 girls. Ages ranged from 2 to 128 months
(mean: 41.6±27.1months). Fever (100%), coma (100%) and convulsion (89%) were the commonest presenting symptoms, while unsteady
gait, speech, auditory and visual impairment were the commonest neurological deficits at discharge. Fifty-seven (86.4%) patients survived
while nine (13.6%) died. Of the 57 survivors, 35 (61.4%) recovered completely, while 22 (38.6%) had neurological deficits at discharge.
Identified clinical and laboratory predictors of mortality in CM included: age less than 3 years (p =0.031), abnormal breathing pattern (p =
0.023), absent corneal reflex (p = 0.005), absent pupillary reflex (p = 0.047), retinal haemorrhage (p = 0.029), hypoglycaemia (p = 0.002) and
leucocytosis (p = 0.040).
Conclusion: CM is associated with high mortality and serious sequelae. Affected children should be given proactive management and
monitored closely to reduce the frequency of adverse outcomes.

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