Heart 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.
Ask your health care provider whether you should take your usual medicines before the test.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.BACK TO TOP
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.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2021 A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.