Hepatic function of 80 children aged under 3 years with Plasmodium vivax malaria were studied during the acute attack and 6 weeks after antimalarial treatment. Raised levels of serum aspartate transaminase (serum AST; SGOT), serum alanine transaminase (serum ALT; SGPT), and alkaline phosphatase were observed in 68%, 39% and 46% of cases respectively. AST levels were higher than ALT ones and the mean level of both enzymes was much higher in patients with hepatomegaly. The hepatic dysfunction which these observations reflect is transient, as these enzymes were found to be at their normal levels 6 weeks after treatment. A transient derangement of liver function is thus a common feature of childhood malaria, and hepatic dysfunction takes place to a significant degree even in P. vivax malaria.
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