Chagas' heart disease in Europe: an emergent disease?

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Abstract

Chagas' disease is caused by Trypanosoma Cruzi. It is considered as endemic in central and South America and is transmitted by several species of triatomic bedbug. However, there are other important ways of transmission between humans: vertical transmission and, above all, through blood products and transplants. In Chagas' disease, cardiac disturbances are the most important cause of morbidity, and they usually take place in the chronic stage. The symptoms are the same as in other dilated cardiomyopathies. The management of Chagas' heart disease may be even more difficult than other dilated cardiomyopathies. The increasing number of immigrants from endemic areas of Chagas' disease to developed countries would cause a radical increase in the incidence of this disease over the next years, however European cardiologists are unfamiliar with the disease. In this manuscript, we present our experience in order to stress the necessity of bearing Chagas' disease in mind as a possible cause of dilated cardiomyopathy in patients from endemic areas.

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