Biochemical indices of liver function in malaria patients

Isaac Oluwole ADEDIJI, Ayodele Ademola ADELAKUN, Babatunde Olaniyi MOTAYO, Kazeem Sanjo AKINWANDE


Introduction:Malaria is a tropical disease, which has hepatocellular involvement and is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality especially among children.

Objective: This study investigated the biochemical indices of liver function in children with malaria and compared their results with healthy children (age and sex-matched).

           Methodology: Fifty patients (age: 5.1 ± 1.9 years) were enrolled from the Pediatrics’ clinic of a tertiary health institution in Ogun state, Nigeria. Fifty age- and sex- matched apparently healthy children, from the same geographical location were selected as controls. A thick film microscopy was used to confirm the presence of Plasmodium falciparum trophozoite in patients and its absence in controls. The in vitro determinations of the plasma activities of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), plasma total and conjugated bilirubin were performed using standard methods. Data obtained were statistically analyzed using student’s t-test and P<0.05 was considered significant. 

Results: The plasma activities of AST (34 ± 28 vs 10 ± 4 U/L) and plasma levels of total bilirubin (1.1 ± 0.7 vs 0.6 ± 0.2 mg/dL) were significantly higher in malaria patients compared with controls (p < 0.001). There was no significant difference in the plasma activities of ALT and ALP as well as concentration of conjugated bilirubin when compared with controls.

Conclusion: This study revealed that abnormal biochemical indices of liver function observed in malaria patients does not conclusively imply liver disease, it could be as a result of intravascular haemolysis.

Key words: Plasmodium falciparum, Malaria, Bilirubin, Liver enzymes.


Plasmodium falciparum, Malaria, Bilirubin, Liver enzymes.

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