Malaria is one of the most common infectious diseases in the world with a high prevalence in developing countries. Renal impairment occurs in 40% of Plasmodium falciparum infections; glomeruli, tubules or interstitium can be involved with different pathophysiological mechanisms. We describe a case of severe acute renal failure caused by P. falciparum malaria in a young woman from the Ivory Coast. Renal biopsy revealed severe and widespread acute tubular necrosis and the presence of blackish pigment granules in the glomerular and peritubular capillaries, negative for iron histochemical staining; in electron microscopy we found rounded-oval-shaped structures containing cytoplasmic organelles, electrondensic granules and cellular debris, likely of infectious origin, within monocyte-macrophages located in the tubular lumen. Specific Antigen for P. falciparum and malarial parasite in blood were positive, with very rare trophozoites and gametocytes compatible with Plasmodium falciparum. Steroid therapy and specific antiparasitic therapy were set up with progressive functional improvement until complete recovery. This case highlights the importance of paying maximum attention to low incidence pathologies in our country, considering the continuous migratory movements of these years that can cause an increase in these diseases; anamnestic data are essential for a timely diagnosis which can contribute to a rapid remission avoiding severe complications.
Keywords: malaria, acute kidney failure, tubular necrosis, Plasmodium falciparum