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Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz
Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Fiocruz
ISSN: 1678-8060
EISSN: 1678-8060
Vol. 104, No. s1, 2009, pp. 152-158
Bioline Code: oc09103
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Vol. 104, No. s1, 2009, pp. 152-158

 en Chagas Heart Disease: Pathophysiologic Mechanisms, Prognostic Factors and Risk Stratification
Rassi Jr, Anis; Rassi, Anis & Marin-Neto, José Antonio


Chagas heart disease (CHD) results from infection with the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi and is the leading cause of infectious myocarditis worldwide. It poses a substantial public health burden due to high morbidity and mortality. CHD is also the most serious and frequent manifestation of chronic Chagas disease and appears in 20-40% of infected individuals between 10-30 years after the original acute infection. In recent decades, numerous clinical and experimental investigations have shown that a low-grade but incessant parasitism, along with an accompanying immunological response [either parasite-driven (most likely) or autoimmune-mediated], plays an important role in producing myocardial damage in CHD. At the same time, primary neuronal damage and microvascular dysfunction have been described as ancillary pathogenic mechanisms. Conduction system disturbances, atrial and ventricular arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, systemic and pulmonary thromboembolism and sudden cardiac death are the most common clinical manifestations of chronic Chagas cardiomyopathy. Management of CHD aims to relieve symptoms, identify markers of unfavourable prognosis and treat those individuals at increased risk of disease progression or death. This article reviews the pathophysiology of myocardial damage, discusses the value of current risk stratification models and proposes an algorithm to guide mortality risk assessment and therapeutic decision-making in patients with CHD.

Chagas disease - Chagas heart disease - pathophysiology - pathogenesis - prognostic factors - risk stratification

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