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OBJECTIVES: Malaria 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. METHODS: Here 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. RESULTS: Despite 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. CONCLUSION: Prostration is an important clinical criterion to determine severe pediatric malaria with possible fatal outcomes.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Infect Dis

Publication Date





240 - 247


Coma, Deep breathing, Mortality, Prostration, Severe malaria, Child, Humans, Infant, Malaria, Falciparum, Coma, Malaria, Prognosis, Anemia