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Print version ISSN 0120-4157On-line version ISSN 2590-7379


PAVIA, Paula Ximena; ROA, Nubia Lucía; URIBE, Ana María  and  PUERTA, Concepción Judith. Using S35-S36 and TcH2AF-R primer-based PCR tests to follow-up a Chagas´ disease patient who had undergone a heart transplant. Biomédica [online]. 2011, vol.31, n.2, pp.178-184. ISSN 0120-4157.

Introduction. Cardiomyopathy is the most common clinical form of Chagas´ disease in Colombia, and one treatment option is a heart transplant. Tracking the behavior of the Chagas´ parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi, is a priority due to the risk of post-transplant reactivation of the infection. Objective. A case is presented of a patient who had suffered from dilated chagasic cardiopathy and cardiac failure, and had subsequently undergone heart transplant. The case was monitored by PCR, histopathological and echocardiographic examinations. Materials and methods. Blood samples were drawn before and after the transplant, and post-transplant endomyocardial biopsies were taken. The extracted DNA was amplified with the TcH2AF-R and S35-S36 primers. Parasitemia was examined by the microhematocrit test. In addition, histopathological studies determined the parasite presence and transplant rejection status. Echocardiograms were administered to evaluate cardiac function. Results. Of the blood samples taken 83 and 48 days pre-transplant, the latter was positive by the S35-S36 PCR test. PCR tests in blood with both primers were negative up to the second month post-transplant. However, both PCR tests were positive by the third month post-transplant. Thereupon, the patient was treated with nifurtimox. Both tests presented negative results in blood 35 days after treatment was started and remained negative thereafter at 0, 3, 10 and 12 months post-treatment. The pathology, microhematocrit, and PCR test results from biopsies were negative on all the specified dates. Conclusions. PCR tests were used as indicators of a reactivation of trypanosomid infection in the patient. After treatment administration, PCR tests became negative. The patient´s clinical evolution was favorable.

Keywords : Trypanosoma cruzi; Chagas disease; transplantation; polymerase chain reaction; echocardiography; cardiomiopathy, dilated.

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