The primary cardiovascular component affected by a malarial infection is the blood. Entering the body through a mosquito’s saliva, the parasite infects the blood cells and travels throughout the body to damage its organs. Many patients experience low blood pressure as the body is weakened and damaged blood cells die.
The heart can experience a number of complications from malaria. Added strain from pulmonary edema, disruptions of the heart’s electrical function, tachycardia, and aggravation of existing heart conditions can occur with potentially lethal results. While much is known about the various types of malaria, a great deal of research is still needed to fully understand the effects of malaria on the body. Until recently, little attention was given to connections between malaria and heart, failure which is now the focus of research teams in Europe and the United States.
About the Author:
Vivek Baliga is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Leeds, focused on cardiovascular research. Baliga previously served with a team of medical professional in Mangalore, India in efforts to educate schoolchildren on malaria prevention.