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Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical

versión impresa ISSN 0037-8682


MARTINEZ-SALAZAR, Edgar Leonardo  y  TOBON-CASTANO, Alberto. Platelet profile is associated with clinical complications in patients with vivax and falciparum malaria in Colombia. Rev. Soc. Bras. Med. Trop. [online]. 2014, vol.47, n.3, pp.341-349. ISSN 0037-8682.


Thrombocytopenia is a common complication in malaria patients. The relationship between abnormal platelet profile and clinical status in malaria patients is unclear. In low and unstable endemic regions where vivax malaria predominates, the hematologic profiles of malaria patients and their clinical utility are poorly understood. The aim of this study was to characterize the thrombograms of malaria patients from Colombia, where Plasmodium vivax infection is common, and to explore the relationship between thrombograms and clinical status.


Eight hundred sixty-two malaria patients were enrolled, including 533 (61.8%) patients infected with Plasmodium falciparum, 311 (36.1%) patients infected with Plasmodium vivax and 18 (2.1%) patients with mixed infections.


The most frequently observed changes were low platelet count (PC) and high platelet distribution width (PDW), which were observed in 65% of patients; thrombocytopenia with <50,000 platelets/µL was identified in 11% of patients. Patients with complications had lower PC and plateletcrit (PT) and higher PDW values. A higher risk of thrombocytopenia was identified in patients with severe anemia, neurologic complications, pulmonary complications, liver dysfunction, renal impairment and severe hypoglycemia. The presence of thrombocytopenia (<150,000 platelets/µL) was associated with a higher probability of liver dysfunction.


Young age, longer duration of illness and higher parasitemia are associated with severe thrombocytopenia. Our study showed that thrombocytopenia is related to malaria complications, especially liver dysfunction. High PDW in patients with severe malaria may explain the mechanisms of thrombocytopenia that is common in this group of patients.

Palabras clave : Thrombogram; Thrombocytopenia; Platelet; Plasmodium; Severe malaria; Colombia.

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