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Volume 110, Nº 2, February 2018


DOI: http://www.dx.doi.org/10.5935/abc.20180016


The Presence and Extension of Myocardial Fibrosis in the Undetermined Form of Chagas’ Disease: A Study Using Magnetic Resonance

Marcia Maria Noya-Rabelo

Carolina The Macedo

Ticiana Larocca

Admilson Machado

Thais Pacheco

Jorge Torreão

Bruno Solano de Freitas Souza

Milena B. P. Soares

Ricardo Ribeiro-dos-Santos

Luis Claudio Lemos Correia

Dr. Márcia Noya

Figure 1 – Rassi score in the different clinical forms of Chagas’ disease. LV: left ventricular.


Background: Previous data has shown that patients in the indeterminate form of Chagas disease may present myocardial fibrosis as shown on through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However, there is little information available regarding the degree of severity of myocardial fibrosis in these individuals. This variable has the potential to predict the evolution of Chagas’ disease into its cardiac form.

Objectives: To describe the frequency and extent of myocardial fibrosis evaluated using an MRI in patients in the indeterminate form, and to compare it with other forms of the disease.

Methods: Patients were admitted one after another. Their clinical history was collected and they were submitted to laboratory exams and an MRI.

Results: Sixty-one patients with Chagas’ disease, with an average age of 58 ± 9 years old, 17 patients in the indeterminate form, 16 in the cardiac form without left ventricular (LV) dysfunction and 28 in the cardiac form with LV dysfunction were studied. P <0.05 was considered to be statistically significant. Late enhancement was detected in 37 patients (64%). Myocardial fibrosis was identified in 6 individuals in indeterminate form (41%; 95% CI 23-66) in a proportion similar to that observed in cardiac form without LV dysfunction (44%); p = 1.0. Among the individuals with fibrosis, the total area of the affected myocardium was 4.1% (IIQ: 2.1 - 10.7) in the indeterminate form versus 2.3% (IIQ: 1-5) in the cardiac form without LV (p = 0.18). The left ventricular fraction ejection in subjects in the indeterminate form was similar to that of the individuals in the cardiac form without ventricular dysfunction (p = 0.09).

Conclusion: The presence of fibrosis in the indeterminate form of Chagas’ disease has a frequency and extension similar to that of in the cardiac form without dysfunction, suggesting that the former is part of a subclinical disease spectrum, rather than lacking cardiac involvement. (Arq Bras Cardiol. 2018; 110(2):124-131)

Keywords: Chagas Disease; Chagas Cardiomyopathy; Fibrosis; Magnetic Resonance Imaging.