Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging in Chagas’ disease: a parallel with electrophysiologic studies


Chagas’ disease (CD), caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, is the leading cause of cardiac disability from infectious diseases in Central and South America. The disease progresses through an extended, asymptomatic form characterized by latency without clinical manifestations into a symptomatic form with cardiac and gastro-intestinal manifestations. In the terminal phase, chronic Chagas’ myocarditis results in extensive myocardial fibrosis, chamber enlargement with aneurysms and ventricular tachycardia (VT). Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) has proven useful in characterizing myocardial fibrosis (MF). Sub-epicardial and mid-wall fibrosis are less common patterns of MF in CHD than transmural scar, which resembles myocardial infarction. Commonly involved areas of MF include the left ventricular apex and basal infero-lateral wall, suggesting a role for watershed ischemia in the pathophysiology of MF. Electrophysiology studies have helped refine the relationship between MF and VT in this setting. This article reviews the patterns of MF in CHD and correlate these patterns with electrogram patterns to predict risk of ventricular arrhythmias and sudden death.

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Duran-Crane, A., Rojas, C.A., Cooper, L.T. et al. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging in Chagas’ disease: a parallel with electrophysiologic studies. Int J Cardiovasc Imaging (2020).

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  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Chagas’ heart disease
  • Myocardial fibrosis
  • Ventricular arrhythmias
  • Radiofrequency ablation