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Int J Cardiol. 1985 May;8(1):45-56.

Life expectancy analysis in patients with Chagas' disease: prognosis after one decade (1973-1983).


We studied the evolution of chronic Chagas' disease in 107 patients with a positive Guerreiro-Machado reaction and 22 non-chagasic, non-heart disease control subjects for a follow-up period of 3 to 10 years (mean follow-up of 4.9 years). After completion of invasive and non-invasive studies, chagasic patients were classified into four groups: IA (normal ECG, without heart disease; 18 patients); IB (normal ECG, early left ventricular segmental abnormalities; 13 patients); II (abnormal ECG, advanced myocardial damage, no signs of heart failure; 42 patients); and III (abnormal ECG, end-stage, congestive heart failure; 34 patients). One out of five group IA patients re-studied with invasive methods evolved to group IB (20%); 4 group IB patients evolved to group II (33%) and 6 group II patients evolved to group III (15%). The life expectancy of patients in groups IA and IB (normal ECG) was similar to that of our control group, whereas in groups II and III it was significantly decreased (P less than 0.001). Nine group II patients (23%) and 28 group III patients (82%) died during the follow-up period. Main terminal events were refractory congestive heart failure, sudden death and systemic thromboembolism. Our findings suggest that chronic Chagas' disease follows an evolutionary course from asymptomatic, normal ECG group I stage to arrhythmic (II) and congestive (III) stages. Subjects with a positive Guerreiro-Machado reaction showed a significantly lower life expectancy than our control group, but only when clinical and/or ECG abnormalities were identified.

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