What lab tests are performed in the workup of malaria?

Updated: Apr 26, 2019
  • Author: Thomas E Herchline, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Assess hemoglobin (decreased in 25% of patients, often profoundly in young children), platelet counts (thrombocytopenia in 50-68% of patients), and liver function (results abnormal in 50% of patients). Also monitor renal function, electrolytes (especially sodium), and parameters suggestive of hemolysis (haptoglobin, LDH, reticulocyte count). Rapid HIV testing may also be indicated in select cases. Importantly, fewer than 5% of patients with malaria have an elevated white blood cell (WBC) count. If leukocytosis is present, the examiner should entertain a broader list of differential diagnoses. The British Committee for Standards in Haematology has guidelines on the laboratory diagnosis of malaria. [9]


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