MEM INST OSWALDO CRUZ, RIO DE JANEIRO, Vol. 112 | 2017
PAGES: DOI: 10.1590/0074-02760160334 Perspectives
Chronic Chagas cardiomyopathy: a review of the main pathogenic mechanisms and the efficacy of aetiological treatment following the BENznidazole Evaluation for Interrupting Trypanosomiasis (BENEFIT) trial

Anis Rassi Jr1,+, José Antonio Marin-Neto2, Anis Rassi1

1Hospital do Coração Anis Rassi, Goiânia, GO, Brasil
2Universidade de São Paulo, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Departamento de Clínica Médica, Divisão de Cardiologia, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brasil

Abstract

Chagas cardiomyopathy is the most frequent and most severe manifestation of chronic Chagas disease, and is one of the leading causes of morbidity and death in Latin America. Although the pathogenesis of Chagas cardiomyopathy is incompletely understood, it may involve several mechanisms, including parasite-dependent myocardial damage, immune-mediated myocardial injury (induced by the parasite itself and by self-antigens), and microvascular and neurogenic disturbances. In the past three decades, a consensus has emerged that parasite persistence is crucial to the development and progression of Chagas cardiomyopathy. In this context, antiparasitic treatment in the chronic phase of Chagas disease could prevent complications related to the disease. However, according to the results of the BENEFIT trial, benznidazole seems to have no benefit for arresting disease progression in patients with chronic Chagas cardiomyopathy. In this review, we give an update on the main pathogenic mechanisms of Chagas disease, and re-examine and discuss the results of the BENEFIT trial, together with its limitations and implications.

+ Corresponding author: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Received 24 July 2016
Accepted 22 November 2016

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