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Open Access Open Badges Research

Ultrasonographic renal sizes, cortical thickness and volume in Nigerian children with acute falciparum malaria

Omolola M Atalabi1*, Adebola E Orimadegun2, Ademola J Adekanmi1 and Olusegun O Akinyinka3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Radiology, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

2 Institute of Child Health, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

3 Department of Paediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

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Malaria Journal 2013, 12:92  doi:10.1186/1475-2875-12-92

Published: 13 March 2013



Utility of sonographic assessments of renal changes during malaria illness are rarely reported in African children in spite of the high burden of malarial-related kidney damage.


In this case–control study, renal sizes, cortical thickness and volume of the kidneys of 131 healthy children and 170 with acute falciparum malaria comprising 85 uncomplicated malaria (UM) and 85 complicated malaria (CM) cases, measured within 24 hours of presenting in the hospital were compared.


The mean age of children with UM, CM and control groups was 49.7 ± 26.2 months, 50.7 ± 29.3 months and 73.4 ± 25.5 months, respectively (p < 0.001). The mean right kidney length of CM group was higher than control by 0.41cm (95% CI = 0.16, 0.65; p < 0.001) and UM by 0.32 cm (95% CI = 0.02, 0.62; p = 0.030). Similarly, mean left kidney length of CM was higher than control and UM by 0.34 cm (95% CI = 0.09, 0.60; p = 0.005) and 0.41cm (95% CI = 0.09, 0.72; p = 0.006), respectively. Estimated mean renal volume of the CM group was significantly higher than control group by 7.82 cm3 for right and by 5.79 cm3 for left kidneys respectively; in the UM group by 9.31cm3 for right and 8.87 cm3 for left kidneys respectively.


There was a marginal increase in renal size of children with Plasmodium falciparum infection, which worsened with increasing severity of malaria morbidity. Ultrasonography provides important information for detecting renal changes in children with acute malaria.

Falciparum malaria; Renal sizes; Renal volume; Ultrasound