New classification of acute papilledema in children with severe malaria
Smith A., Beare NAV., Musumba CO., Lochhead J., Newton CRJC., Harding SP.
Raised intracranial pressure is a feature of cerebral malaria in children living in Africa. We investigated specific clinical optic disc features of papilledema to establish their prognostic significance in this encephalopathy. We developed a classification of acute papilledema and tested it against disease outcome. Kenyan children admitted with severe falciparum malaria (cerebral or impaired consciousness) underwent dilated fundal examination using direct and indirect ophthalmoscopy. Clinical features of the optic disc were systematically recorded and compared to the child's outcome. Poor outcome defined as death or neurological impairment on discharge was used to construct and test a clinical classification of papilledema. Forty-five children were examined (26 cerebral malaria, 17 severe malaria with an impaired conscious level or prostration) of whom seven had a poor outcome (three died, four had residual neurological impairment). Loss of the optic disc cup and marked optic disc elevation were significantly correlated with a poor outcome (P < 0.05). Increasing severity in the proposed classification of acute papilledema was positively correlated with a poor outcome (P < 0.05, chi-square test for trend). Loss of the optic disc cup and marked elevation of the optic disc head appear to be correlated with poor outcome in children with severe malaria whereas the presence of dilated veins suggests a good outcome. The proposed classification of acute papilledema is useful as a prognostic indicator and may be applicable to other encephalopathies with raised intracranial pressure. © 2009 IOS Press. All rights reserved.