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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2011 Feb;135(2):243-8. doi: 10.1043/1543-2165-135.2.243.

Cardiac troponin T measured with a highly sensitive assay for diagnosis and monitoring of heart injury in chronic Chagas disease.

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Department of Cardiology, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany.



Chronic Chagas disease (15 million patients; annual incidence, 40, 000 patients; annual mortality, 12 ,500 patients) is the most serious parasitic disease in Latin America. Between 10 and 30 years after infection, 30% of patients with Chagas disease develop heart injury, which is the main reason for its high mortality. Consequently, frequent cardiac diagnostics are required for patients with Chagas disease.


To minimize time-intensive and cost-intensive diagnostics, such as electrocardiography, echocardiography, and radiologic imaging, we tested the effect of measuring serum cardiac troponin T (cTnT) with a highly sensitive assay. To indicate the pathophysiologic background for cTnT release in Chagas heart injury, inflammation markers, such as C-reactive protein and interleukin 6, were measured in parallel.


Serum cTnT was measured in 26 healthy subjects and in 179 patients with chronic Chagas disease who were asymptomatic (indeterminate stage, n  =  86), who were suffering from cardiomyopathy with or without megacolon (n  =  71), or who were suffering from megacolon exclusively (n  =  22).


Serum cTnT was significantly higher in patients with cardiomyopathy with or without megacolon than in healthy subjects, asymptomatic subjects, and patients with megacolon, and the cTnT value was correlated with the severity of the cardiomyopathy. The lower limit of detection for the highly sensitive assay (3 ng/L) was best at distinguishing patients with, and without, heart injury. C-reactive protein and interleukin 6 were found to parallel cTnT changes in both the different Chagas groups and the cardiomyopathy groups separated by disease severity.


Highly sensitive cTnT measurement has the potential to contribute to diagnosis and monitoring of heart injury in patients with chronic Chagas disease. The highly sensitive assay of cTnT release seems to be related to Chagas heart disease-specific inflammation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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