Journal of Global Infectious DiseasesOfficial Publishing of INDUSEM and OPUS 12 Foundation, Inc. Users online:92  
Print this pageEmail this pageSmall font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size     
Home About us Editors Ahead of Print Current Issue Archives Search Instructions Subscribe Advertise Login 

LETTER TO EDITOR Table of Contents   
Year : 2010  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 72-73
Acute myocardial infarction in a hospital cohort of malaria

1 Department of Orthopedics, JSSMC, Mysore - 570004, India
2 Department of Medicine, KMC, Mangalore (Manipal University) - 575001, India

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Web Publication20-Jan-2010

How to cite this article:
Jain K, Chakrapani M. Acute myocardial infarction in a hospital cohort of malaria. J Global Infect Dis 2010;2:72-3

How to cite this URL:
Jain K, Chakrapani M. Acute myocardial infarction in a hospital cohort of malaria. J Global Infect Dis [serial online] 2010 [cited 2023 Feb 7];2:72-3. Available from:


Malaria, a protozoal disease, caused by genus plasmodium, is prevalent in about 100 countries worldwide [1] and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality especially in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin-America. [2] In India about 1.65 million cases were reported (with 943 deaths) during the years 2003 and 2004. [1] Malaria is an endemic disease in the city of Mangalore, Karnataka, since 1994-1995.

Cardiac involvement in malaria has not been studied widely. There have been few reports of experimental and postmortem studies indicating myocardial involvement in malaria. [2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7] We investigated the extent of cardiac involvement in malaria in the clinical situation, by analyzing the occurrence of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) in patients with malaria and comparing it with AMI in nonmalarial patients.

A retrospective observational study of 38,919 in-patients of Dr. TMA Pai Rotary Hospital, Mangalore, was done from the year 1995 to 1998, and it was found that among 1531 malarial patients, 22 had AMI (1.43%), a statistically significant (P < 0.05) occurrence, as compared to AMI among all in-patients who were in for complaints other than malaria, (0.82%), reflecting the possibility of myocardial damage in malaria. Analysis had been started from 1995, as malaria resurged in Mangalore city from 1995 onwards. Diagnosis of malaria cases had been established by the Quantitative Buffy Coat (QBC) test [8] and diagnosis of myocardial infarction had been established by the treating physicians following standard electrocardiogram (ECG) changes and cardiac biomarker profiles.

The occurrence of AMI was higher among in-patients with malaria compared to in-patients without malaria from 1995 to 1998. [Table 1] and [Table 2]. Out of 22 cases of AMI among patients with malaria, 13 patients had P. falciparum malaria, two patients had P. vivax malaria, and seven patients had mixed malaria (P. falciparum 1 P. vivax).

The pathophysiological link between myocardial damage and malaria has been described in literature. [3],[6],[7],[9] Adhesion of parasitized red blood cells to the endothelium of myocardial capillaries has been shown in monkeys and man. [3],[9] Ischemia, acidosis, toxic effects of substances similar to P. falciparum glycosyl-phosphatidyl-inositol or Plasmodium-triggered mechanisms such as apoptosis may be responsible for myocardial damage. [6] Raised catecholamine has been found in malaria, which may induce vasoconstriction, resulting in myocardial damage. [3]

An interesting observation was the gradual reduction in occurrence of AMI as the years progressed. While the occurrence of AMI among all in-patients without malaria remained stable at about 0.8% over the study period, the occurrence of AMI among patients with malaria decreased from 2.4% in 1995, when there was a resurgence of malaria in Mangalore, to 1.1% in 1998. This might be because of the gradual development of immunity in this area as the population was continuously exposed to the malarial parasite. In hyper endemic malarial areas patients could tolerate high parasite density, even up to 20-30%, often without clinical symptoms, advocating looking for cardiac complications in non-immune individuals suffering from malaria.

Although this observation does not imply a cause-effect relationship, temporal changes over the four years and a possible biological explanation from the previous studies [3],[6],[7] suggest that malaria could have been the cause of the higher occurrence of AMI in this group. We provide the first study in a hospital setting, demonstrating the cardiac complications, that is, acute myocardial infarction, in malaria.

Further prospective research could provide more details. In conclusion, we propose that AMI should be regarded as an important clinical complication of malaria. This is of importance, as it is known that some of the anti-malarial drugs also depress cardiovascular function.[10]

   References Top

1.Park K. Epidemiology of communicable diseases. In: Park's textbook of preventive and social medicine.18 th ed. Jabalpur M/s Banarasidas Bhanot Publication 2005:201-11.  Back to cited text no. 1      
2.Anigbogu CN, Olubowale OA. Effects of malaria on blood pressure, heartrate, electrocardiogram and cardiovascular response to change in posture. Nig Ot J Hosp Med 2002;12.  Back to cited text no. 2      
3.Mohapatra MK, Mohanty NK, Das SP. Myocardial injury: An unrecognized complication of cerebral malaria. Trop Doct 2000;30:188-9.  Back to cited text no. 3  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  
4.Bertrand E, Clerc G, Renambot J, Odi Assamoi J, Chauvet J. 50 cases of acute malaria: Symptomatic study, especially cardiac. Bull Soc Pathol Exot Filiales 1975;68:456-66.  Back to cited text no. 4  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  
5.Charles D, Bertrand E. The heart and malaria. Med Trop (Mars) 1982;42:405-9.  Back to cited text no. 5  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  
6.Ehrhardt S, Wichmann D, Hemmer CJ, Burchard GD, Brattig NW. Circulating concentrations of cardiac proteins in complicated and uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Trop Med Int Health 2004;9:1099-103.  Back to cited text no. 6  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  
7.Ehrhardt S, Mockenhaupt FP, Anemana SD, Otchwemah RN, Wichmann D, Cramer JP, et al. High levels of circulating cardiac proteins indicate cardiac impairment in African children with severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Microbes Infect 2005;7:1204-10.  Back to cited text no. 7      
8.Shenoi UD. Laboratory diagnosis of malaria. Indian J Pathol Microbiol 1996;39:443-5.  Back to cited text no. 8      
9.MacPherson GG, Warrell MJ, White NJ, Looareesuwan S, Warrell DA. Human cerebral malaria. A quantitative ultrastructural analysis of parasitized erythrocyte sequestration. Am J Pathol 1985;119:385-401.  Back to cited text no. 9      
10.White NJ, Breman JG. Malaria and Babesiosis: Disease caused by Red blood cell parasites. In: Kasper DL, Braunwald E, Fauci AS, Hauser SL, Longo DL, Jameson JL, editors. Harrison's principles of internal medicine. 16 th ed. Vol. 1. New Delhi: McGraw Hill; medical publishing Divison 2005:1218-33.  Back to cited text no. 10      

Correspondence Address:
Karun Jain
Department of Orthopedics, JSSMC, Mysore - 570004
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-777X.59258

Rights and Permissions


  [Table 1], [Table 2]

This article has been cited by
1 Heart failure associated with imported malaria: a nationwide Danish cohort study
Philip Brainin, Grimur Høgnason Mohr, Daniel Modin, Brian Claggett, Odilson M. Silvestre, Amil Shah, Lasse S. Vestergaard, Jens Ulrik Stæhr Jensen, Lars Hviid, Christian Torp-Pedersen, Lars Køber, Scott Solomon, Morten Schou, Gunnar H. Gislason, Tor Biering-Sørensen
ESC Heart Failure. 2021; 8(5): 3521
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Acute myocardial infarction secondary to infection by Plasmodium ovale
Lorena Martín Polo, Clara Crespillo-Andújar, Juan Ramón Rey Blas
Medicina Clínica (English Edition). 2020; 154(8): 325
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
3 Infarto agudo de miocardio secundario a infección por Plasmodium ovale
Lorena Martín Polo, Clara Crespillo-Andújar, Juan Ramón Rey Blas
Medicina Clínica. 2020; 154(8): 325
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

    Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded95    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 3    

Recommend this journal

Sitemap | What's New | Feedback | Copyright and Disclaimer | Privacy Notice | Contact Us
© 2008 Journal of Global Infectious Diseases | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow
Online since 10th December, 2008