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Reduced cardiac output in imported Plasmodium falciparum malaria

DOI: 10.1186/1475-2875-10-160

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In a prospective case-control study, 28 patients with uncomplicated and complicated P. falciparum malaria were included and findings were compared with 26 healthy controls. Cardiac function parameters were assessed by an innovative non-invasive method based on the re-breathing technique. In addition, cardiac enzymes and pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines were measured and assessed with respect to clinical symptoms and conditions of malaria.Cardiac index (CI) as a measurement of cardiac output (CO) was 21% lower in malaria patients than in healthy controls (2.7 l/min/m2 versus 3.4 l/min/m2; P < 0.001). In contrast, systemic vascular resistance index (SVRI) was increased by 29% (32.6 mmHg?m2/(l/min) versus 23.2 mmHg?m2/(l/min); P < 0.001). This correlated with increased cardiac proteins in patients versus controls: pro-BNP 139.3 pg/ml versus 60.4 pg/ml (P = 0.03), myoglobin 43.6 μg/l versus 27.8 μg/l (P = < 0.001). All measured cytokines were significantly increased in patients with malaria. CI, SVRI as well as cytokine levels did not correlate with blood parasite density.The results support previous reports suggesting impaired cardiac function contributing to clinical manifestations in P. falciparum malaria. Findings may be relevant for fluid management and should be further explored in endemic regions.Circulatory collapse and symptoms associated with impaired hemodynamic function are characteristics of complicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria [1]. While impaired cardiac function has long been established as a key component of bacterial sepsis and septic shock, the role of the heart in severe malaria has only recently been started to be further explored. Ehrhardt et al have shown that cardiac enzymes are elevated in complicated malaria [2,3]. Ejection fraction assessed by ultrasound in children with severe malaria was significantly reduced on admission compared with discharge [4].In sepsis, reduced pre-load, myocardial suppression as well as reduced after-load con


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