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Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases
Volume 2012, Article ID 980739, 8 pages
Review Article

Cardiac Autonomic Control Mechanisms in the Pathogenesis of Chagas' Heart Disease

Instituto de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares, Departamento de Fisiopatología, Instituto de Inmunologìa Clinica, Facultad de Medicina, Hospital Universitario de Los Andes, Universidad de Los Andes, Mérida 5101, Venezuela

Received 1 June 2012; Accepted 27 August 2012

Academic Editor: Decio Diament

Copyright © 2012 Diego F. Dávila et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Primary abnormalities of the autonomic nervous system had been postulated as the pathogenic mechanisms of myocardial damage, in patients with Chagas disease. However, recent investigations indicate that these abnormalities are secondary and amenable to treatment with beta-adrenergic blockers. Moreover, muscarinic cardiac autoantibodies appear to enhance parasympathetic activity on the sinus node. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to analyze how knowledge on Chagas' disease evolved from being initially considered as a primary cardioneuromyopathy to the current status of a congestive cardiomyopathy of parasitic origin.