Cardiac function in Ghanaian children with severe malaria

Samuel B. Nguah, Torsten Feldt, Steffi Hoffmann, Daniel Pelletier, Daniel Ansong, Justice Sylverken, Parisa Mehrfar, Johanna Herr, Christian Thiel, Stephan Ehrhardt, Gerd D. Burchard, Jakob P. Cramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose: The aim was to assess whether impaired cardiac function contributes to symptoms of severe malaria in general or to metabolic acidosis in particular in children living in endemic regions. Methods: In a prospective observational investigation, 183 children with severe malaria were investigated for hemodynamic status and cardiac function upon admission (day 0) and after recovery (day 42). Cardiac function parameters were assessed by cardiac ultrasonography. Blood gas analyses and cardiac enzymes were measured at hospitalization and follow-up. Differences in subgroups with and without metabolic acidosis as well as other severe malariadefining symptoms and conditions were assessed. Results: Cardiac index (CI) was significantly increased on day 0 compared to day 42 (5.8 ml/m2, SD ± 1.8 ml/m 2, versus 4.7 ml/m2, SD ± 1.4 ml/m2; P<0.001). CI correlated negatively with hemoglobin levels but not with parameters indicating impaired tissue perfusion or metabolic acidosis. Parasite levels had a significant influence on metabolic acidosis but not on CI. Alterations related to cardiac function, hemoglobin levels and metabolic acidosis were most prominent in children younger than 2 years. Conclusion: Increased CI reflecting high output status is associated with low hemoglobin levels while metabolic acidosis is linked to parasite levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2032-2041
Number of pages10
JournalIntensive Care Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Cardiac function
  • Cardiac index
  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • Severe malaria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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