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Rev Inst Med Trop Sao Paulo. 2000 Mar-Apr;42(2):99-109.

Evolutive behavior towards cardiomyopathy of treated (nifurtimox or benznidazole) and untreated chronic chagasic patients.

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Centro de Investigaciones sobre Endemias Nacionales, Facultad de Bioquímica y Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Santa Fe, Argentina.


The aim of this work was to compare the evolution of chronic chagasic untreated patients (UTPs) with that of benznidazole or nifurtimox-treated patients (TPs). A longitudinal study from a low endemic area (Santa Fe city, Argentina) was performed during an average period of 14 years. Serological and parasitological analyses with clinical exams, ECG and X-chest ray were carried out. At the onset, 19/198 infected patients showed chagasic cardiomyopathy (CrChM) while 179 were asymptomatic. In this latter group the frequency of CrChM during the follow-up was lower in TPs compared with UTPs (3.2% vs 7%). Within the CrChM group, 2/5 TPs showed aggravated myopathy whereas this happened in 9/14 UTPs. Comparing the clinical evolution of all patients, 5.9% of TPs and 13% of UTPs had unfavourable evolution, but the difference is not statistically relevant. Serological titers were assessed by IIF. Titers equal to or lower than 1/64 were obtained in 86% of the TPs, but only in 38% of UTPs. The differences were statistically significant (geometric mean: 49.36 vs. 98.2). Antiparasitic assessment of the drugs (xenodiagnosis) proved to be effective. The low sensitivity in chronic chagasic patients must be born in mind. Despite treated patients showed a better clinical evolution and lower antibody levels than untreated ones, it is necessary to carry on doing research in order to improve therapeutic guidelines, according to the risk/benefit equation and based on scientific and ethical principles.

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