Kidney function status in Nigerian human malaria patients
Malaria is now known to affect over 500 million persons worldwide, killing about 1 to 3 million of them annually. Plasmodium falciparum is the species mostly implicated in the causation of severe malaria. This study was carried out to investigate the kidney function status of malaria patients in Benin metropolis, Southern Nigeria, to ascertain if there is renal dysfunction/impairment in them. Plasma levels of sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, urea, creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) were assayed in a total of 152 subjects (112 malaria patients infected with Plasmodium falciparum and 40 controls) of both sexes, with their age ranging from 8 to 42 years. The results observed irrespective of age or sex, reveal a statistically significant (p<0.05) increase in plasma levels of potassium, urea, BUN and creatinine (4.49±0.95 mmol/L;5.88±0.13mmol /L;16.39±0.36mg/dl and 135.05±2.69ìmol/L) when compared to their controls (4.05±0.34mmol/L;3.73±0.12mmol/L;10.34±0.36mg/dl and 80.71±1.69ìmol/L, respectively) and also a statistically significant (P<0.05) reduction in plasma levels of Na+ and HC03- (128.50±0.77 and 19.98±0.28mmol/L) when compared to their controls (l38.58±0.29 and 24.70±0.36mmol/L, respectively). The hyponatraemia and metabolic acidosis observed in the malaria patients are negatively correlated with the degree of parasitaemia (r=-0.241 and r=-0.019, respectively), while the elevated plasma potassium and creatinine levels are positively correlated with the degree of parasitaemia (r=0.153 and r=0.407, respectively). The elevated plasma Urea and BUN levels are also positively correlated with the degree of parasitaemia (r=0.371 and r=0.375, respectively). The results of this study indicate that there is significant renal dysfunction/impairment in patients in southern Nigeria infected with plasmodium falciparum.
Key words: Malaria infection, Kidney function status.