Cerebral Malaria Treated with Artemisinin in the Intensive Care Unit: A Case Report

Cizmeci E. A. , KELEBEK GİRGİN N. , CEYLAN İ. , Tuncel T., ALVER O. , AKALIN E. H.

IRANIAN JOURNAL OF PARASITOLOGY, vol.11, no.1, pp.116-120, 2016 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Page Numbers: pp.116-120


Malaria is a parasitic disease that is starting to be encountered in intensive care units (ICU) worldwide, owing to increasing globalisation. Severe malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum, is characterised by cerebral malaria, acute renal failure, hypoglycaemia, severe anaemia, splenomegaly and alveolar oedema. We present the case of a 25-yr old male patient who presented to the Emergency Department of Uludag University in Bursa, Turkey in the winter of 2014 with complaints of fever for three days. His medical history revealed a 14-month stay in Tanzania. Staining of blood smears revealed characteristic gametocytes in accordance with P. falciparum infection. The day after admission, he had an epileptic seizure after which his Glasgow Coma Scale was 6, so he was intubated and transferred to the ICU. A computerized tomography scan revealed findings of cerebral oedema. Intravenous mannitol was administered for 6 days. Intravenous artemisinin was continued for 10 days. Due to refractory fevers, anti-malarial treatment was switched to quinine and doxycycline on the 14th day and on the 16th day the fevers ceased. This case emphasizes that cerebral malaria should be suspected in cases of seizures accompanying malaria, and treatment should be initiated in the ICU. Furthermore, resistance of P. falciparum to artemisinin should be in mind when a response to therapy is lacking.