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Risk progression to chronic Chagas cardiomyopathy: influence of male sex and of parasitaemia detected by polymerase chain reaction
  1. A L Basquiera1,
  2. A Sembaj2,
  3. A M Aguerri2,
  4. M Omelianiuk3,
  5. S Guzmán3,
  6. J Moreno Barral2,
  7. T F Caeiro4,
  8. R J Madoery4,
  9. O A Salomone4
  1. 1Internal Medicine Training Programme, Department of Education, Hospital Privado Centro Médico de Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina
  2. 2Cátedra de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba
  3. 3Department of Laboratory, Hospital Privado Centro Médico de Córdoba
  4. 4Department of Cardiology, Hospital Privado Centro Médico de Córdoba
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Ana Lisa Basquiera, Hospital Privado Centro Médico de Córdoba, Naciones Unidas 346, 5016 Córdoba, Argentina;


Background: Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) allows detection of Trypanosoma cruzi in blood throughout the course of Chagas’ disease.

Objective: To determine whether T cruzi DNA detected by PCR is associated with progression to chronic Chagas cardiomyopathy.

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Setting: A tertiary care centre in Argentina.

Patients: 56 consecutive patients with chronic T cruzi infection.

Methods: Clinical examination, ECG, and Doppler echocardiography were carried out at baseline and at the end of the follow up. Detection of T cruzi DNA by PCR amplifying a nuclear sequence was undertaken in all patients at baseline.

Main outcome measures: Progression was defined as death from chronic cardiomyopathy or the presence of a new ECG or left ventricular echocardiographic abnormality at the end of follow up.

Results: The 56 patients (21 male, 35 female; mean (SD) age, 56.0 (11.3) years) were followed for a mean 936.3 (244.39) days. Progression to cardiomyopathy was detected in 12 patients (21.4%). Three of these patients died after baseline evaluation. Univariate analysis showed that a positive PCR (relative risk 4.09, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.60 to 9.85) and male sex (5.00, 95% CI 1.65 to 15.73) were associated with progression. Multivariable logistic regression indicated that both sex and PCR were independent variables affecting the outcome.

Conclusions: In a cohort of seropositive individuals, patients with T cruzi DNA detected by PCR and male patients were at higher risk of progression. These results highlight the importance of T cruzi in the pathophysiology of chronic cardiomyopathy.

  • Chagas’ disease
  • cardiomyopathy

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