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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Chagas Disease-induced Sudden Cardiac Arrest


Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is the most common cause of death in patients with Chagas disease (ChD). There are over 300,000 ChD-infected individuals living in the United States, of whom 10-15% have undiagnosed Chagas cardiomyopathy (CCM). CCM patients have a higher risk of SCD compared to non-CCM patients, although early and appropriate treatment of CCM patients can result in a 95% relative risk reduction of SCD. Emergency physicians have a unique opportunity to improve outcomes among these patients by becoming more vigilant in recognizing the signs and symptoms of CCM in patients who present in sudden cardiac arrest. We report the case of a patient presenting to the emergency department with pulseless ventricular tachycardia and an undiagnosed history of CCM.

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