Falciparum malaria: The most dangerous type of malaria, which is caused by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Falciparum malaria is associated with high levels of parasites in the blood and has the highest death rate and rate of complications of all types of malaria. Red blood cells that are infected with the parasite tend to sludge and lead to microinfarctions (tiny areas of dead tissue due to lack of oxygen) in capillaries in the brain, liver, adrenal gland, intestinal tract, kidneys, lungs, and other organs. Patients should be treated in a hospital setting, using intravenous medications.
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Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016