Chagas' heart disease: Descriptive analysis of 141 patients in a hospital of Madrid, Spain

Travel Med Infect Dis. 2020 Sep-Oct:37:101690. doi: 10.1016/j.tmaid.2020.101690. Epub 2020 Apr 22.


Background: Spain is the European country with the highest number of Trypanosoma cruzi infected patients. Due to the cardiac complications that these patients can develop, it is of paramount importance to evaluate the value of the different heart diagnostic tools.

Method: In this observational study, we describe the main characteristics and data from electrocardiogram, chest X-ray, echocardiogram and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of 141 patients with Chagas' disease attended in a tertiary university hospital in Madrid from 2009 to 2018.

Results: A total of 50 patients (35.4%) had at least one abnormal cardiac test: 34.2% altered electrocardiogram (40/117), 24.5% altered echocardiogram (27/110) and 9.2% abnormal cardiac MRI (13/41). Of those 13 with a pathological MRI, 53.8% had normal results for any other test. The most frequent alterations observed were hypokinesia with decreased LVEF (left ventricular ejection fraction), dilatation of cavities and cardiac fibrosis. Two thirds of patients with abnormal cardiac test were asymptomatic. Altered echocardiogram was found in 43.8% of patients ≥50 years compared to 16.6% under 50 years (p = 0.003).

Conclusions: A transthoracic echocardiogram and a MRI of the heart added a 23.8% increment in diagnosing cardiac pathological findings.

Keywords: Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging; Chagas' disease; Echocardiogram; Trypanosoma cruzi; electrocardiogram.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Chagas Cardiomyopathy*
  • Chagas Disease*
  • Europe
  • Heart Diseases*
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Spain
  • Stroke Volume
  • Ventricular Function, Left