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Digoxin Toxicity May Result in Serious Clinical Outcomes

Digoxin toxicity is a serious medical condition that can be difficult to recognize in patients whose health may already be compromised. Studies have shown that digoxin or digitalis poisoning can impact length of hospital stay.1

A review of 17 patients hospitalized with a diagnosis of digoxin toxicity found1:

  • A mean length of stay of 3.3 days
    • 1 patient received digoxin immune Fab therapy
    • Throughout patients' hospital stay, the mean serum digoxin concentration was 3.8 µg/L

A separate review of 76 patients admitted with a primary diagnosis of digoxin poisoning to 56 academic hospitals found:

  • A mean length of stay of 4.2 days
Read about the symptoms of digoxin toxicity »
Read about risk factors for digoxin toxicity »

Digoxin toxicity can be fatal

In some cases, digoxin toxicity can be fatal. Studies have shown that cardiac glycosides like digoxin or digitalis have a higher mortality rate than that associated with toxicity from other cardiovascular drugs.2

Fatality from digoxin toxicity may be preventable. Risk may be mitigated by early recognition and may mean improved treatment outcomes.3,4

References

  1. Gandhi AJ, Vlasses PH, Morton DJ, Bauman JL. Economic impact of digoxin toxicity. Pharmacoeconomics. 1997;12:175-181.
  2. Bronstein AC, Spyker DA, Cantilena LR Jr, Green JL, Rumack BH, Giffin SL. 2008 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers' National Poison Data System (NPDS): 26th Annual Report. Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2009;47:911-1084.
  3. Ma G, Brady WJ, Pollack M, Chan TC. Electrocardiographic manifestations: digitalis toxicity. J Emerg Med. 2001;20:145-152.
  4. Hauptman PJ, Kelly RA. Digitalis. Circulation. 1999;99:1265-1270.

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