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Ann Thorac Surg. 1996 Jun;61(6):1727-33.

Heart transplantation for chronic Chagas' heart disease.

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  • 1Heart Institute, São Paulo University Medical School, Brazil.



Chagas' disease has been considered a contraindication to heart transplantation as Trypanosoma cruzi infection could recur after immunosuppression.


We report the follow-up of 22 patients who underwent orthotopic heart transplantation for treatment of end-stage chronic Chagas' heart disease, divided in two groups. Group 1 consisted of 9 patients operated on from September 1985 to June 1991, and group 2 patients underwent transplantation from July 1991 to June 1995. After our early experience with group 1, we attempted to use a lower cyclosporine dosage in group 2.


Total actuarial survival at 24 months was 60%, and it was better for group 2 (33% for group 1, 80% for group 2, p = 0.008). Parasitemia occurred similarly in both groups, but Chagas' disease reactivation was seen in 5 group 1 patients and in 1 group 2 member (p < 0.002). Neoplasia developed in 5 group 1 patients and 1 group 2 patient, and contributed to death in 3 of them.


These data demonstrate satisfactory outcome of cardiac transplantation in patients with end-stage Chagas' heart disease in the second phase of our experience. Further progress is necessary to improve the results and evaluate its proper role in the management of this disease.

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