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Digoxin in Atrial Fibrillation: An Old Topic Revisited

[ Vol. 16 , Issue. 2 ]

Author(s):

Filipe Ferrari, Igor R.M.F. Santander and Ricardo Stein*   Pages 141 - 146 ( 6 )

Abstract:


Digoxin has been used for more than 50 years in patients with Atrial Fibrillation (AF), with the goal of Controlling Heart Rate (HR) and restoring sinus rhythm. In the last two decades, several studies have correlated therapeutic use of digoxin with increased mortality. However, such studies have potential biases that cannot be disregarded, mainly because they are cross-sectional experiments or post-hoc analyses of Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs). Despite uncertainties regarding the safety of digoxin in this setting, it remains one of the most prescribed drugs for AF worldwide. On the other hand, the absence of any RCTs designed to evaluate mortality makes a definitive conclusion more difficult to reach; therefore, this medication must be used with care. In this review, we explored the therapeutic use of digoxin in the context of AF, discussed mortality data by means of critical analysis in the light of the best available evidence, and position ourselves in relation to more rigorous control of serum levels of this drug in daily practice.

Keywords:

Digoxin, serum level, toxicity, mortality, heart failure, chronic atrial fibrillation.

Affiliation:

Graduate Program in Cardiology and Cardiovascular Sciences, School of Medicine, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre (HCPA), Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, Faculty of Medical Sciences of Paraiba, Paraiba, Graduate Program in Cardiology and Cardiovascular Sciences, School of Medicine, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre (HCPA), Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre

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