Several studies evaluating clinical forms of chronic Chagas disease show that about one-third of patients present cardiac involvement. Heart failure, sudden death and cardioembolic stroke are the main mechanisms of death in Chagas heart disease. The impact of specific etiologic treatment on the prognosis of patients with chronic Chagas heart disease is very limited regardless of the presence or absence of heart failure. Patients with symptomatic Chagas heart disease present serum selenium (Se) levels lower than patients without Chagas heart disease. Moreover, Se supplementation in animal models showed promising results. The aim of this trial is to estimate the effect of Se treatment on prevention of heart disease progression in patients with Chagas cardiomyopathy. However, we had to introduce some protocol modifications in order to keep trial feasibility, as follows: the primary outcome was restricted to left ventricular ejection fraction as a continuous variable, excluding disease progression; the follow-up period was decreased from 5 years to 1 year, an adjustment that might increase the participation rate of our study; the superior age limit was increased from 65 to 75 years; and diabetes mellitus was no longer considered an exclusion criterion. All of these protocol modifications were extensively debated by the research team enrolled in the design, recruitment and conduction of the clinical trial to guarantee a high scientific quality.
Clinical Trials.gov, NCT00875173. Registered on 20 October 2008.