Background: This study was designed to study the patient characteristics, presenting features and complications of malaria in patients with elevated liver enzymes and to compare these data to those of patients with normal liver enzymes. Methods: A convenient sample of 100 patients with malaria was selected from three tertiary care referral hospitals. Study subjects were divided into two groups: (1) patients (controls) with normal liver enzymes and (2) patients (cases) with >3 times the normal liver enzymes in the absence of an alternate explanation for such elevation. Patient characteristics, presenting features and complications of malaria in these two groups were studied. Data were collected using a semi-structured pretested proforma and were analyzed using the statistical analysis program SPSS, version 11.5 (SPSS, Inc., Chicago, IL). Results: The mean ages were 38.12 years for the cases and 35.20 years for the controls with a non-significant p value of 0.289. Males composed 82% of the cases that were diagnosed with malarial hepatopathy; the remaining 18% were females. Falciparum malaria was present in 56% of the cases, compared to 12% of the controls. Icterus was present in 66% of cases of malarial hepatopathy, compared to 32% of the controls. Of the 66% of these cases, 18.18% had serum bilirubin >3. mg%, whereas out of the 32% of the controls presenting with icterus, only 5.55% had serum bilirubin >3. mg% (p=0.003). Of the cases with malarial hepatopathy, 38% suffered from hypoglycemia, compared to 0% of the controls (p< 0.001); 84% of the cases presented with thrombocytopenia, compared to 70% of the controls (p< 0.001); 12% of the cases suffered from renal failure with serum creatinine levels >2. mg%, compared to 2% of the controls (p= 0.060). Conclusion: Plasmodium falciparum infection (either alone or along with P. vivax) is the leading cause of malarial hepatopathy. Jaundice is a common clinical manifestation among these patients. Patients with malarial hepatopathy have increased incidences of hypoglycemia and thrombocytopenia. Malarial hepatopathy occurs in relation to severe infection, most of which are treated with parenteral artesunate.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases