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    Volume 19, Issue 4 (October 1974)

    A Radioimmunoassay Technique for Digoxin in Postmortem Blood

    (Received 8 June 1973; accepted 6 December 1973)

    Published Online: October


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    In spite of the availability of purified digitalis fractions such as digoxin, treatment of congestive heart failure and arrhythmias with cardiac glycosides is attended by considerable risk of toxicity and even death. Beller et al [1] estimate that toxicity results in 8–20 percent of hospital patients taking digoxin, with a subsequent mortality of 7–50 percent. The development of a radioimmunoassay sufficiently sensitive to quantitate digoxin in serum or plasma during therapy [2] might be expected to improve the control of therapy in patients with absorption or excretion abnormalities, and Smith and Haber [3] reported that more than 85 percent of toxic cases could be distinguished from nontoxic ones by the plasma digoxin concentrations. However, more recently, Fogelman et al [4] found little increase in plasma digoxin in toxicity; mean plasma concentrations were 1.69 ± 1.29, 1.61 ± 0.79, and 1.41 ± 1.09 ng/ml in groups classified as toxic, possibly toxic, and nontoxic. The extensive overlap of the digoxin concentrations in these three groups suggests that sensitivity to digoxin is the main factor in determining the onset of toxicity.

    Author Information:

    Phillips, AP
    Senior scientific officer, Home Office Central Research Establishment, Reading, Berkshire

    Stock #: JFS10482J

    ISSN: 0022-1198

    DOI: 10.1520/JFS10482J

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    Title A Radioimmunoassay Technique for Digoxin in Postmortem Blood
    Symposium , 0000-00-00
    Committee E30