Neurological involvement in patients with falciparum malaria; Frequency and prognostic value

Mohammad Wasay, Asif Taqi, Huma Aziz, Iqbal Azam, M. Asim Beg

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the prognostic significance of neurological manifestations in falciparum malaria. Methods: We analyzed adult patients with malaria admitted from 2001 to 2003, diagnosed by asexual forms of Plasmodium falciparum in peripheral blood films and identified cases of malaria with neurological involvement. A patient was classified as having neurological involvement if they reported or had one or more of the following symptoms; headache, altered mental status, seizures, neck rigidity, brisk reflexes, cranial neuropathy and hyper or hypotonia. Results: A total of 454 patients were included in the study. Out of these, 123 (27%) were diagnosed as complicated (severe) malaria and 331 (73%) as uncomplicated malaria at admission. Overall 70 (15.4%) patients had evidence of neurological involvement at initial evaluation. Twenty-seven patients out of 123 (22%) with complicated malaria and 43 patients out of 331 (13%) with uncomplicated malaria had neurological involvement. Over all, 16 (4%) patients died, 13 (11%) had complicated malaria (n = 123) and 3 (1%) had uncomplicated malaria (n = 381). Mortality in patients having neurological involvement (n = 70) was 9 (13%) as compared to 7 (2%) in patients with malaria having no neurological involvement (n = 384). This difference was statistically significant (p = 0.012). Seizure was identified as predictor of mortality on Univariate analysis [OR 5.091 (1.835-14.121)]. Conclusion: Fifteen percent of patients with falciparum malaria admitted to our hospital had neurological symptoms and neurological involvement was associated with increased mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-106
Number of pages3
JournalClinical Neurology and Neurosurgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


  • Cerebral
  • Falciparum
  • Malaria
  • Seizures


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