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60% of people infected with T. cruzi never develop symptoms, and when they do appear (mainly heart and gastrointestinal problems), they may take years to manifest. For this reason, transmission often goes unnoticed.
Without diagnosis or treatment, 30-40% of infected people develop digestive complications, which are severe in half of all cases. If the cardiac system is affected with, for example, arrhythmias, patients may need to have a defibrillator or pacemaker implanted, in addition to drug treatment. In advanced cases where the cardiac muscle is affected (myocardium), a heart transplant may be required.
In relation to digestive complications, even if they are not associated with increased mortality, they do increase morbidity. Episodes of constipation and nutritional changes that can only be resolved through surgical intervention may be associated with advanced states of the disease.
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