Prescribing etiologic treatment for chronic Chagas' disease is highly controversial because of the difficulties involved in assessing its therapeutic efficacy--the low degree of parasitemia, the persistence of positive immunologic reactions, the lack of clinical findings to support each type of treatment, and the necessarily prolonged follow-up of the patient. An 8-year average follow-up was performed on 131 patients treated with benznidazole (5 mg/kg/day for 30 days) (TP) and 70 untreated patients (UTP) by serial electrocardiograms and analysis of the cardiomyopathic progress of the clinical groups, and by immunologic tests at both the beginning and end of the study. TPs presented less electrocardiographic changes during the follow-up period (4.2% vs 30%) and a lower frequency of deterioration in their clinical condition (2.1% vs 17%). The percentage of TPs who were serologically negative was 19.1% whereas 6% of the UTPs became serologically negative, a result that correlated with a lack of progress in the cardiomyopathy. Benznidazole treatment significantly decreased serologic titers, signifying parasitologic cure in two patients.