• Vol. 27 No. 3, 353–357
  • 15 May 1998

Malaria Requiring Intensive Care



We studied 24 consecutive adult patients with malaria who required intensive care between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 1997. This was out of a total of 256 patients hospitalised at the Singapore General Hospital with malaria during these 4 years. Our aim was to characterise the type and severity, clinical features, complications, treatment and outcome of adult patients with malaria who required intensive care. In addition, we compared the actual and predicted mortality based on the Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II (APACHE II) score.

The travel history, prophylaxis, duration of fever before receiving treatment, type of malaria and severity, clinical data, complications, APACHE II score, treatment and outcome were analysed.

Most cases were imported by locals travelling overseas or foreigners infected with the parasite elsewhere. Four patients had vivax malaria and 20 patients had severe falciparum malaria. All but 1 patient received transfusion with blood products and 6 patients with severe falciparum malaria had exchange transfusions. Complications were restricted to infection with P. falciparum: 9 patients required acute dialysis and 8 required mechanical ventilation. Three patients died giving a mortality of 15% for severe falciparum malaria. The overall mortality of patients with malaria was 1.2%. The mortality of patients with malaria requiring intensive care was 12.5% as compared with a predicted mortality of 18.7% based on the APACHE II prognostication system.

Malaria is an important and common infectious parasitic disease globally. It is associated with significant morbidity and mortality, especially in endemic areas.

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