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Clinical Cardiology
June 16, 1978

How and When To Use the Digitalis Serum Levels

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, University of Arkansas College of Medicine, and Division of Cardiology, Veterans Administration Hospital, Little Rock, Ark.

JAMA. 1978;239(24):2594-2596. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280510078028

The indications for measuring serum digoxin levels are suspicion of digitalis intoxication and the need to know the status of digitalization. Pitfalls of interpretation include time of serum sample relative to time of last digitalis dose, age of patient, atrial arrhythmia, electrolyte disturbances, disease state of the patient, recent radioisotopes "on board," abnormal absorption or metabolism, and laboratory error. The serum digoxin level is a useful clinical tool but only when employed with good judgment. Not every patient receiving digitalis requires the measurement of a blood level.

(JAMA 239:2594-2596, 1978)