The use of exchange transfusions: a potentially useful adjunct in the treatment of fulminant falciparum malaria

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Fulminant falciparum malaria with greater than 500,000/mm3 parasites in the peripheral blood portends a poor prognosis. We recently managed a patient who had greater than 1.2 million/mm3 parasitized erythrocytes in her peripheral blood, following initially inadequate antimalarial therapy, with exchange transfusion in addition to conventional chemotherapy. This patient recovered from her disease despite severe cerebral involvement and acute renal failure. We feel that exchange transfusion was a useful adjunct and should be considered in patients with life threatening falciparum malaria when conventional measures fail to control the disease.

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