Chagas cardiomyopathy in the context of the chronic disease transition

Alicia I. Hidron, Robert H. Gilman, Juan Justiniano, Anna J. Blackstock, Carlos LaFuente, Walter Selum, Martiza Calderon, Manuela Verastegui, Lisbeth Ferrufino, Eduardo Valencia, Jeffrey A. Tornheim, Seth O'Neal, Robert Comer, Gerson Galdos-Cardenas, Caryn Bern

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48 Scopus citations


Background: Patients with Chagas disease have migrated to cities, where obesity, hypertension and other cardiac risk factors are common. Methodology/Principal Findings: The study included adult patients evaluated by the cardiology service in a public hospital in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Data included risk factors for T. cruzi infection, medical history, physical examination, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, and contact 9 months after initial data collection to ascertain mortality. Serology and PCR for Trypanosoma cruzi were performed. Of 394 participants, 251 (64%) had confirmed T. cruzi infection by serology. Among seropositive participants, 109 (43%) had positive results by conventional PCR; of these, 89 (82%) also had positive results by real time PCR. There was a high prevalence of hypertension (64%) and overweight (body mass index [BMI] >25; 67%), with no difference by T. cruzi infection status. Nearly 60% of symptomatic congestive heart failure was attributed to Chagas cardiomyopathy; mortality was also higher for seropositive than seronegative patients (p = 0.05). In multivariable models, longer residence in an endemic province, residence in a rural area and poor housing conditions were associated with T. cruzi infection. Male sex, increasing age and poor housing were independent predictors of Chagas cardiomyopathy severity. Males and participants with BMI ≤25 had significantly higher likelihood of positive PCR results compared to females or overweight participants. Conclusions: Chagas cardiomyopathy remains an important cause of congestive heart failure in this hospital population, and should be evaluated in the context of the epidemiological transition that has increased risk of obesity, hypertension and chronic cardiovascular disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere688
JournalPLoS neglected tropical diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 18 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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