Digoxin testHeart failure - digoxin test
A digoxin test checks how much digoxin you have in your blood. Digoxin is a type of medicine called a cardiac glycoside. It is used to treat certain heart problems, although much less often than in the past.
How the Test is Performed
A blood sample is needed
Venipuncture is the collection of blood from a vein. It is most often done for laboratory testing.Read Article Now Book Mark Article
How to Prepare for the Test
Ask your health care provider whether you should take your usual medicines before the test.
How the Test will Feel
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain. Others feel only a prick or stinging. Afterward, there may be some throbbing where the needle was inserted.
Why the Test is Performed
The main purpose of this test is to determine the best dosage of digoxin and prevent side effects.
It is important to monitor the level of digitalis medicines such as digoxin. That is because the difference between a safe treatment level and a harmful level is small.
Cardiac glycosides are medicines for treating heart failure and certain irregular heartbeats. They are one of several classes of drugs used to treat...Read Article Now Book Mark Article
In general, normal values range from 0.5 to 1.9 nanograms per milliliter of blood. But the right level for some people may vary depending on the situation.
The examples above are common measurements for results of these tests. Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
What Abnormal Results Mean
Abnormal results may mean you are getting too little or too much digoxin.
A very high value could mean that you have or are likely to develop a digoxin overdose (toxicity).
Risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:
- Excessive bleeding
- Fainting or feeling lightheaded
- Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
- Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)
Aronson JK. Cardiac glycosides. In: Aronson JK, ed. Meyler's Side Effects of Drugs. 16th ed. Waltham, MA: Elsevier B.V.; 2016:117-157.
Koch R, Sun C, Minns A, Clark RF. Overdose of cardiotoxic drugs. In: Brown DL, ed. Cardiac Intensive Care. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 34.
Mann DL. Management of heart failure patients with reduced ejection fraction. In: Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Tomaselli GF, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 25.
Blood test - illustration
Blood is drawn from a vein (venipuncture), usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. A needle is inserted into the vein, and the blood is collected in an air-tight vial or a syringe. Preparation may vary depending on the specific test.
Blood test - illustration
Review Date: 7/7/2020
Reviewed By: Thomas S. Metkus, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.