Diagnostic performance of salivary urea nitrogen dipstick to detect and monitor acute kidney disease in patients with malaria

Viviane Calice-Silva, Euclides Sacomboio, Jochen G. Raimann, Rhys Evans, Cruz Dos Santos Sebastião, Adelino Tchilanda Tchivango, Peter Kotanko, Nathan Levin, Roberto Pecoits-Filho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common complication of malaria. In low resource settings, a lack of diagnostic tools and delayed treatment of malaria associated AKI lead to significant morbidity and mortality. The aim of this study was to assess the diagnostic performance of salivary urea nitrogen (SUN) dipstick to detect and monitor kidney disease [KD = AKI or acute kidney disease (AKD) without AKI] in malaria patients in Angola. Methods: Patients 11-50 years old admitted with malaria at the Josina Machel (Maria-Pia) Hospital, Luanda, Angola, between 2nd March and 10th May 2016 were enrolled in this study. All participants had serum creatinine (sCr), blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and SUN dipstick tested at the time of recruitment and daily for up to 4 days. AKD without AKI refers to acute renal impairment which do not fulfilled the main criteria for AKI (increases in the baseline serum creatinine and/or decreases in urine output) according defined by the kidney disease improving global outcomes (KDIGO) guideline. Results: Eight-six patients were admitted with malaria diagnosis (mean age 21.5 ± 9.4 years, 71% male) and 27 (32%) were diagnosed with KD. The mean (± SD) sCr and BUN of the KD group at admission (day 0) were 5.38 (± 5.42) and 99.4 (± 61.9) mg/dL, respectively. Three (3.5%) patients underwent haemodialysis and eight (9.3%) died within the first 4 days of hospital admission [5 (62.5%) with KD; 3 (37.5%) without kidney disease; p = 0.047]. The SUN threshold for KD diagnosis was tested pad #5 (SUN > 54 mg/dL). At this threshold, the SUN dipstick had a sensitivity of 67% and specificity of 98% to diagnose KD. The area under the receiver operating characteristics curve (ROC) for KD diagnosis on admission was 0.88 (95% CI 0.79-0.96). The SUN dipstick was most accurate at higher levels of BUN. Conclusion: The SUN dipstick had reasonable sensitivity and excellent specificity when used to diagnose KD in a cohort of patients with malaria in a resource-limited setting. Given the severity of presenting illness and kidney injury, the SUN dipstick diagnostic threshold was high (test pad #5). SUN may be used to detect AKI in patients with malaria in low resources settings, thus facilitating earlier access to adequate treatment, which may improve survival.

Original languageEnglish
Article number477
JournalMalaria Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 18 Dec 2018


  • Acute kidney disease
  • Acute kidney injury
  • Blood urea nitrogen
  • Diagnostic tools
  • Malaria
  • Salivary urea nitrogen


Dive into the research topics of 'Diagnostic performance of salivary urea nitrogen dipstick to detect and monitor acute kidney disease in patients with malaria'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this