Usefulness of microvolt T-wave alternans for predicting outcome in patients with Chagas disease with implantable cardioverter defibrillators

Marco Paulo Tomaz Barbosa, Manoel Otávio da Costa Rocha, Elson Santos Neto, Fernando Vieira Brandão, Federico Lombardi, Antonio Luiz Pinho Ribeiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Chagas disease (ChD) may lead to life-threatening heart disease, including malignant ventricular arrhythmias. The use of implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) has become the main therapeutic strategy for secondary prevention of SCD in Chagas disease (ChD). Microvolt T-wave alternans (MTWA) is a direct measure of ventricular repolarization instability and has emerged as a potentially useful way of determining arrhythmia vulnerability. However, this methodology has not been evaluated in patients with ChD. Objective To evaluate the predictive value of MTWA testing for appropriate therapy or death in ChD patients with ICDs. Methods This prospective study included consecutive patients who received ICD implantations in a Brazilian tertiary referral center. Results Seventy-two patients were followed for a median time of 422 (range 294–642) days. Thirty-three patients had ChD. The MTWA was non-negative (positive or indeterminate) in 27 (81.8%) of ChD patients. The combined primary outcome (appropriate ICD therapy or death) occurred in 29 patients (40.3%); 17 out 33 ChD patients presented the primary outcome. There was a statistically significant difference in event-free survival between ChD patients with negative and non-negative MTWA results (p = 0.02). Non-negative MTWA tests nearly triple the risk of appropriate ICD therapy or death (HR = 2.7, 95% CI: 1.7–4.4, p = 0.01) in patients with ChD and was the only variable associated with outcomes. The sensitivity and the negative predictive value was 100% in ChD patients. Conclusions MTWA may be useful in recognizing high-risk ICD patients who may require adjunctive therapies with antiarrhythmic drugs or catheter ablation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-85
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Chagas disease
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator
  • Microvolt T-wave alternans
  • Risk stratification
  • Ventricular arrhythmia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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