Early twentieth century descriptions of the Chagas heart disease

Gopikrishna Punukollu, Ramesh M. Gowda, Ijaz A. Khan

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16 Scopus citations


Chagas heart disease is endemic in 21 countries with approximately 100 million people at risk. It is the most common cause of myocarditis in the Americas and is recognized to have existed for more than 4000 years (isolated from mummies). Chagas disease was discovered during the search to find a cause for the overwhelming deaths occurring in Brazil in the late 18th century. Physician Carlos Chagas discovered Trypanosome minasense in 1908 while researching on malaria. Subsequently, the existence of the barbeiro triatomine (insects bites on the face), the isolation of the Trypanosome cruzi in the triatomine and the first human description of a disease in a 9-month-old child depicted the existence of a new human trypanosomiasis. Chagas named the trypanosome species after his colleague and mentor Oswaldo Cruz. In subsequent papers, Chagas described the morphology and evolutionary cycle of the trypanosome and the clinical features of the disease, including involvement of the heart. Never before or since one physician has fully characterized a disease from its grass roots to the clinical forms more or less all by himself.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-349
Number of pages3
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • American trypanosomiasis
  • Cardiac parasite
  • Chagas disease
  • Chagas heart disease
  • History of cardiology
  • Medical history
  • Trypanosome cruzi


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