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Original Research

Prevalence of Chagas Heart Disease in a Region Endemic for Trypanosoma Cruzi: Evidence From a Central Bolivian Community

Authors:

Jessica E. Yager ,

Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York, US
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Daniel F. Lozano Beltran,

Centro Universitario de Medicina Tropical, Facultad de Medicina y CEADES Salud y Medio Ambiente, Universidad Mayor de San Simon, Cochabamba, BO
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Faustino Torrico,

Centro Universitario de Medicina Tropical, Facultad de Medicina y CEADES Salud y Medio Ambiente, Universidad Mayor de San Simon, Cochabamba, BO
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Robert H. Gilman,

Asociacion Benefica PRISMA, Lima; Facultad de Ciencias y Filosofía, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, PE; Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, US
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Caryn Bern

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, US
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Abstract

Background: Though the incidence of new Trypanosoma cruzi infections has decreased significantly in endemic regions in the Americas, medical professionals continue to encounter a high burden of resulting Chagas disease among infected adults. The current prevalence of Chagas heart disease in a community setting is not known; nor is it known how recent insecticide vector control measures may have impacted the progression of cardiac disease in an infected population.

Objectives: We sought to determine the current prevalence of T. cruzi infection and associated Chagas heart disease in a Bolivian community endemic for T. cruzi.

Methods: Nested within a community serosurvey in rural and periurban communities in central Bolivia, we performed a cross-sectional cardiac substudy to evaluate adults for historical, clinical, and electrocardiographic evidence of cardiac disease. All adults between the ages of 20 and 60 years old with T. cruzi infection and those with a clinical history, physical exam, or electrocardiogram consistent with cardiac abnormalities were also scheduled for echocardiography.

Results: Of the 604 cardiac substudy participants with definitive serology results, 183 were seropositive for infection with T. cruzi (30.3%). Participants who were seropositive for T. cruzi infection were more likely to have conduction system defects (1.6% vs. 0% for complete right bundle branch block and 10.4% vs. 1.9% for any bundle branch block; p = 0.008 and p < 0.001, respectively). However, there was no statistically significant difference in the prevalence of bradycardia among seropositive versus seronegative participants. Echocardiogram findings were not consistent with a high burden of Chagas cardiomyopathy: valvulopathies were the most common abnormality, and few participants were found to have low ejection fraction or left ventricular dilatation. No participants had significant heart failure.

Conclusions: Though almost one-third of adults in the community were seropositive for T. cruzi infection, few had evidence of Chagas heart disease.

Highlights

  • We conducted a community survey of Trypanosoma cruzi infection in central Bolivia.
  • We evaluated adults ages 20 to 60 years old for evidence of Chagas heart disease.
  • We found 30.3% of adults were seropositive for T. cruzi infection.
  • Bundle branch blocks were more common among participants with T. cruzi infection.
  • Overall rates of Chagas cardiomyopathy were lower than in previous community studies.
How to Cite: Yager JE, Lozano Beltran DF, Torrico F, Gilman RH, Bern C. Prevalence of Chagas Heart Disease in a Region Endemic for Trypanosoma Cruzi: Evidence From a Central Bolivian Community. Global Heart. 2015;10(3):145–50. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.gheart.2015.07.002
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Published on 01 Sep 2015.
Peer Reviewed

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