Two Case Reports of Successful Therapeutic Erythrocytapheresis as an Adjunctive Therapy in Severe Falciparum Malaria


Professor Dae-Won Kim, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Genetics, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, 50 Ilwon-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul 135-710, Korea. Email:


For many years, erythrocytapheresis has been used for the rapid removal of parasites in patients with severe and complicated malaria. Here, we report two cases of severe Plasmodium falciparum infection treated by erythrocytapheresis in addition to antimalarial chemotherapy. Both patients were referred to the emergency department with high fevers (40°C) after returning from Africa. Peripheral blood smears showed 25.8% and 15% of parasitized erythrocytes, respectively. In both cases, antimalarial chemotherapy was begun and erythrocytapheresis was performed, and dramatic reduction of parasitemia was achieved. Clinical symptoms and laboratory abnormalities were also improved. Erythrocytapheresis in combination with antimalarial chemotherapy would be an effective and rapid approach to treat severe falciparum malaria.