American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease) in solid organ transplantation

Transpl Infect Dis. 2020 Dec;22(6):e13429. doi: 10.1111/tid.13429. Epub 2020 Aug 16.


This review addresses relevant aspects of Chagas disease in the solid organ transplantation setting. This trypanosomiasis was geographically restricted to America, but migration has turned Chagas disease into a global public health concern. Parasite persistence in chronically infected individuals entails the potential of transmission with organ donation and the potential for reactivation under immunosuppression. Prospective monitoring with real-time PCR or direct methods for detection of parasitemia and treatment of documented episodes of transmission/ reactivation (rather than prophylactic treatment) is the recommended approach for managing patients at risk. Chagas disease is an important cause of terminal cardiomyopathy. Clinical results demonstrate that with adequate monitoring and treatment, patients with Chagas cardiomyopathy benefit from heart transplantation, with long-term results even better than patients who underwent heart transplantation due to other conditions. Kidney and liver (and possibly other solid organs) transplantation can be safely performed in chronically infected patients with adequate management. Chronically infected patients are also suitable for organ donation (with the exception of the heart and intestines). Although reactivations and transmissions are observed, serious clinical disease is rare, and they are usually successfully managed with benznidazole or nifurtimox.

Keywords: American trypanosomiasis; Chagas disease; solid organ transplantation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chagas Cardiomyopathy*
  • Chagas Disease*
  • Heart Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Organ Transplantation*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement
  • Trypanosoma cruzi