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Value of echocardiography for diagnosis and prognosis of chronic Chagas disease cardiomyopathy without heart failure
  1. R J Viotti*,
  2. C Vigliano,
  3. S Laucella,
  4. B Lococo,
  5. M Petti,
  6. G Bertocchi,
  7. B Ruiz Vera,
  8. H Armenti
  1. Cardiology Department, Hospital Eva Perón, San Martin, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Rodolfo J Viotti
    José Hernández 4181, Villa Ballester, 1653, Argentina;


Objectives: To establish the usefulness of echocardiography for the clinical classification of patients with Chagas disease and to determine the predictors of mortality and clinical events.

Methods: 849 patients with chronic Chagas disease with a mean follow up of 9.9 years were studied. On admission, ECG, chest radiograph, and two dimensional echocardiogram were obtained from all patients. Clinical events were defined as new ECG abnormalities, change in clinical status resulting in transfer to another group, and death. Morphologically characterised segmental lesions were also seen in 12 patients on a second harmonic echocardiogram with intravenous contrast agent. Univariate and multivariate analysis for clinical events and mortality were performed.

Setting: Community of San Martín, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Results: Change in clinical group (68 of 833 survivors v 15 of 16 who died, p < 0.001), left ventricular systolic dimension (mean (SD) 3.06 (0.72) cm v 4.71 (0.90) cm, p < 0.0001), and ejection fraction (mean (SD) 0.67 (0.11)% v 0.42 (0.17)%, p < 0.0001) were found to be the only predictors of mortality. ECG abnormalities related to the disease (in 220 of 699 patients with no clinical event v 98 of 150 patients with a clinical event, p < 0.0001), left ventricular diastolic dimension (mean (SD) 4.88 (0.54) cm v 5.44 (0.83) cm, p < 0.0001), left ventricular systolic dimension (mean (SD) 2.98 (0.62) cm v 3.64 (1.03) cm, p < 0.0001), and ejection fraction (mean (SD) 0.68 (0.10)% v 0.60 (0.16)%, p < 0.0001) were predictors of clinical events. Segmental lesions were observed in 211 of 849 patients (25%). Segmental lesions were seen in 66 (13%) and systolic dysfunction was seen in four of 505 (0.8%) patients with normal ECG. Significant differences were found between the groups of patients (group 0: reactive serology and normal ECG and chest radiography without cardiac enlargement and no signs of heart failure; group 1: reactive serology and abnormal ECG and chest radiography without cardiac enlargement; group 2: reactive serology and abnormal ECG and chest radiography with cardiac enlargement and no signs of heart failure).

Conclusion: Echocardiography was useful both to characterise and to determine the prognosis of patients with chronic Chagas disease without heart failure.

  • Chagas disease
  • echocardiography
  • prognosis
  • aneurysms
  • cardiomyopathy

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  • * Also Clinica Bessone, San Miguel, Buenos Aires, Argentina