Pathophysiology of Acute Kidney Injury in Malaria and Non-Malarial Febrile Illness: A Prospective Cohort Study

Michael Hawkes, Aleksandra Leligdowicz, Anthony Batte, Geoffrey Situma, Kathleen Zhong, Sophie Namasopo, Robert Opoka, Kevin Cain, Andrea Conroy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a life-threatening complication. Malaria and sepsis are leading causes of AKI in low-and-middle-income countries, but its etiology and pathogenesis are poorly understood. A prospective observational cohort study was conducted to evaluate pathways of immune and endothelial activation in children hospitalized with an acute febrile illness in Uganda. The relationship between clinical outcome and AKI, defined using the Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes criteria, was investigated. The study included 967 participants (mean age 1.67 years, 44.7% female) with 687 (71.0%) positive for malaria by rapid diagnostic test and 280 (29.1%) children had a non-malarial febrile illness (NMFI). The frequency of AKI was higher in children with NMFI compared to malaria (AKI, 55.0% vs. 46.7%, p = 0.02). However, the frequency of severe AKI (stage 2 or 3 AKI) was comparable (12.1% vs. 10.5%, p = 0.45). Circulating markers of both immune and endothelial activation were associated with severe AKI. Children who had malaria and AKI had increased mortality (no AKI, 0.8% vs. AKI, 4.1%, p = 0.005), while there was no difference in mortality among children with NMFI (no AKI, 4.0% vs. AKI, 4.6%, p = 0.81). AKI is a common complication in children hospitalized with acute infections. Immune and endothelial activation appear to play central roles in the pathogenesis of AKI.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalPaediatrics and Child Health, East Africa
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022

Cite this