What are the GI symptoms of Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis)?

Updated: Apr 26, 2019
  • Author: Louis V Kirchhoff, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD  more...
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Answer

The gastrointestinal symptoms associated with chronic T cruzi infection typically result from denervation of hollow viscera and consequent dysfunction.

Megaesophagus is the most common anatomic finding and typically results in symptoms similar to those of achalasia, such as dysphagia, odynophagia, substernal discomfort, and a sensation that ingested food and liquids do not move forward properly.

Megacolon usually results in constipation and pain, and some affected patients can go for long periods between bowel movements. In advanced cases, bowel obstruction and/or volvulus can occur, requiring surgical treatment.

Gastric dilatation in patients with Chagas disease has been described, as has megaureter, but these manifestations appear to be relatively rare.


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