Severe falciparum malaria treated with artesunate complicated by delayed onset haemolysis and acute kidney injury.
Plewes K., Haider MS., Kingston HWF., Yeo TW., Ghose A., Hossain MA., Dondorp AM., Turner GDH., Anstey NM.
BACKGROUND: Severe falciparum malaria may be complicated by haemolysis after parasite clearance, however the mechanisms remain unclear. Recent reports describe a pattern of delayed onset haemolysis among non-immune travellers with hyperparasitaemia treated with intravenous artesunate, termed post-artesunate delayed haemolysis (PADH). The occurrence and clinical impact of PADH following severe malaria infections in areas of unstable transmission are unknown. CASE: A 45-year-old Bangladeshi male was initially admitted to a local hospital with severe falciparum malaria complicated by hyperparasitaemia and treated with intravenous artesunate. Twenty days from his first presentation he was readmitted with delayed onset haemolytic anaemia and acute kidney injury. Multiple blood transfusions and haemodialysis were required. Renal biopsy revealed acute tubular injury and haem pigment nephropathy. His haemoglobin and renal function recovered to baseline after 62 days from his second admission. DISCUSSION: This case highlights the differential diagnosis of post-malaria delayed onset haemolysis, including the recently described syndrome of post-artemisinin delayed haemolysis. The pathophysiology contributing to acute kidney injury in this patient and the limited treatment options are discussed. CONCLUSIONS: This report describes PADH complicated by acute kidney injury in an adult patient living in a malaria hypoendemic region who subsequently required blood transfusions and haemodialysis. This case emphasizes the importance of routine follow up of haemoglobin and renal function in artesunate-treated patients who have recovered from severe malaria.