Blood glucose and prognosis in children with presumed severe malaria: is there a threshold for 'hypoglycaemia'?

Willcox, Merlin L.; Forster, Mathieu; Dicko, Moussa I.; Graz, Bertrand; Mayon-White, Richard; Barennes, Hubert (2010). Blood glucose and prognosis in children with presumed severe malaria: is there a threshold for 'hypoglycaemia'? Tropical medicine and international health TM&IH, 15(2), pp. 232-240. Oxford: Blackwell Science 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2009.02444.x

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OBJECTIVES: Hypoglycaemia (glucose <2.2 mmol/l) is a defining feature of severe malaria, but the significance of other levels of blood glucose has not previously been studied in children with severe malaria.

METHODS: A prospective study of 437 consecutive children with presumed severe malaria was conducted in Mali. We defined hypoglycaemia as <2.2 mmol/l, low glycaemia as 2.2-4.4 mmol/l and hyperglycaemia as >8.3 mmol/l. Associations between glycaemia and case fatality were analysed for 418 children using logistic regression models and a receiver operator curve (ROC).

RESULTS: There was a significant difference between blood glucose levels in children who died (median 4.6 mmol/l) and survivors (median 7.6 mmol/l, P < 0.001). Case fatality declined from 61.5% of the hypoglycaemic children to 46.2% of those with low glycaemia, 13.4% of those with normal glycaemia and 7.6% of those with hyperglycaemia (P < 0.001). Logistic regression showed an adjusted odds ratio (AOR) of 0.75 (0.64-0.88) for case fatality per 1 mmol/l increase in baseline blood glucose. Compared to a normal blood glucose, hypoglycaemia and low glycaemia both significantly increased the odds of death (AOR 11.87, 2.10-67.00; and 5.21, 1.86-14.63, respectively), whereas hyperglycaemia reduced the odds of death (AOR 0.34, 0.13-0.91). The ROC [area under the curve at 0.753 (95% CI 0.684-0.820)] indicated that glycaemia had a moderate predictive value for death and identified an optimal threshold at glycaemia <6.1 mmol/l, (sensitivity 64.5% and specificity 75.1%).

CONCLUSIONS: If there is a threshold of blood glucose which defines a worse prognosis, it is at a higher level than the current definition of 2.2 mmol/l.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Forster, Mathieu


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services




Blackwell Science




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:07

Last Modified:

29 Jan 2015 02:21

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URI: (FactScience: 192684)

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