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Alias: N/A

Discipline: Clinical Chemistry

Test information: Digoxin is a digitalis glycoside drug used to treat heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms. This test measures the amount of digoxin in the blood. Heart failure, including congestive heart failure (CHF) causes the heart to become less effective at circulating blood. As a result, blood accumulates in the legs, hands, feet, lungs and liver, causing swelling, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Digoxin is used to reduce some symptoms of heart failure. It strengthens the contractions of the heart and helps it to pump blood more efficiently. Digoxin also helps control the heart rate and abnormal heart rhythms known as arrhythmias. It will not cure heart failure or arrhythmias, which are long term conditions, but can, along with diet, exercise, and other medicines, help to manage the symptoms. Digoxin levels need to be monitored because digoxin is a drug that has a narrow safety range. If the level in the blood is too low, symptoms may recur. If the level is too high, side effects may occur, such as: dizziness; blurred vision or seeing yellow or green halos; vomiting; diarrhoea; irregular heartbeat; difficulty breathing. Digoxin dosage may be adjusted based on the measured levels.

Specimen Type(s)
  • Blood;
Other Acceptable Specimen Type(s)
Specimen Container - Adult
  • Gold Top SST BD;
Specimen Container - Paediatric
  • Clear - Plain;
  • N/A;
Part of a test profile?
Volume (min) of sample to be sent to laboratory
Patient Preparation, Sample Handling and Transport
Must be taken 6-8 hours POST-dose.
Maximum add on time
5 days
Units and Reference Ranges / Interpretation
No RR.
Flags high when >1.0 Comment "Samples for Digoxin should be drawn at least 6 and preferably 18hrs post-dose.
Target range in heart failure, 0.5-1.0 ug/L.
Therapeutic range for Digoxin in patients being treated for Atrial Fibrillation: 0.7-2.0 ug/L.
Digoxin toxicity can occur even within this range.
Always interpret the results within the clinical context.” ug/L
UKAS number
UKAS accredited test?

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Last updated: 03-05-2024