A retrospective study of Chagas's heart disease was carried out by a review of necropsy reports with special reference to the lesion known as the apical aneurysm. It was concluded that this lesion was more frequent in men, was unrelated to age, and was unrelated to heart weight. Patients dying of the cardiac consequences of Chagas's cardiomyopathy were more likely to have an apical aneurysm than those whose death was unrelated to the disease but the mode of death (sudden, or with heart failure) was unconnected with its presence. Transillumination from within the ventricle at necropsy was not only useful in demonstrating the aneurysm but also showed areas of myocardial thinning elsewhere. Thrombosis within the lesion was frequent. The aetiology of the apical aneurysm is discussed and it is concluded that while ischaemia, inflammation, thrombosis, and mechanical factors may produce and localise this lesion, the underlying cause is the basic pathogenetic process-parasympathetic nerve cell destruction.
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