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Arq Bras Cardiol. 2011 Jun;96(6):434-42.

I Latin American Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of Chagas' heart disease: executive summary.

[Article in English, Portuguese, Spanish]

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Sociedade Brasileira de Cardiologia, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.


Much has been achieved in one century after Carlos Chagas' discovery. However, there is surely much to be done in the next decades. At present, we are witnessing many remarkable efforts to monitor the epidemiology of the disease, to better understand the biology of the T. cruzi and its interaction with human beings as well as the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of the complications in the chronic phase, and deal more appropriately and effectively with late cardiac and digestive manifestations. Although the vector and transfusion-derived transmission of the disease has been controlled in many countries, there remains a pressing need for sustained surveillance of the measures that led to this achievement. It is also necessary to adopt initiatives that enable appropriate management of social and medical conditions resulting from the migration of infected individuals to countries where the disease formerly did not exist. It's also necessary to standardize the most reliable methods of detection of infection with T. cruzi, not only for diagnosis purposes, but more crucially, as a cure criterion. The etiological treatment of millions of patients in the chronic stage of the disease is also to be unraveled. A renewed interest in this area is observed, including prospects of studies focusing on the association of drugs with benznidazole. We also wait for full evidence of the actual effectiveness of the etiological treatment to impact favorably on the natural history of the disease in its chronic phase. Eventually, cardiologists are primarily responsible for improving the clinical management of their patients with Chagas' disease, judiciously prescribing drugs and interventions that respect, as much as possible, the peculiar pathophysiology of the disease, wasting no plausible therapeutic opportunities.

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