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ObjectivesMalaria is still one of the main reasons for hospitalization in children living in sub-Saharan Africa. Rapid risk stratification at admission is essential for optimal medical care and improved prognosis. Whereas coma, deep breathing, and, to a lesser degree, severe anemia are established predictors of malaria-related death, the value of assessing prostration for risk stratification is less certain.MethodsHere we used a retrospective multi-center analysis comprising over 33,000 hospitalized children from four large studies, including two observational studies from the Severe Malaria in African Children network, a randomized controlled treatment study, and the phase-3-clinical RTS,S-malaria vaccine trial, to evaluate known risk factors of mortality and with a specific emphasis on the role of prostration.ResultsDespite comparable age profiles of the participants, we found significant inter- and intra-study variation in the incidence of fatal malaria as well as in the derived risk ratios associated with the four risk factors: coma, deep breathing, anemia, and prostration. Despite pronounced variations, prostration was significantly associated with an increased risk of mortality (P <0.001) and its consideration resulted in improved predictive performance, both in a multivariate model and a univariate model based on the Lambaréné Organ Dysfunction Score.ConclusionProstration is an important clinical criterion to determine severe pediatric malaria with possible fatal outcomes.

Original publication





International journal of infectious diseases : IJID : official publication of the International Society for Infectious Diseases

Publication Date





240 - 247


Institute for Tropical Medicine, University Hospital Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany; Centre de Recherches Médicales de Lambaréné (CERMEL), Lambaréné, Gabon; Translational Thematic Unit Malaria, German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), Tübingen, Germany.


Humans, Malaria, Malaria, Falciparum, Coma, Anemia, Prognosis, Child, Infant