The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.

Also known as: Lanoxin


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The Digoxin test contains 1 test with 1 biomarker.

Brief Description: The Digoxin test is a blood test that measures the concentration of digoxin in the blood. Digoxin is a medication commonly used to treat certain heart conditions, including atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, and heart failure. It works by increasing the force of the heart's contractions and slowing the rate of the heartbeat. Due to its narrow therapeutic range, monitoring digoxin levels is crucial to ensure that concentrations remain within the therapeutic range, as levels too high or too low can be detrimental.

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: Collect as a trough just prior to next dose

When and Why a Digoxin Test May Be Ordered

A Digoxin test may be ordered for several reasons:

  1. Therapeutic Monitoring: To ensure that drug levels are within the desired therapeutic range.
  2. Suspected Toxicity: If a patient shows symptoms of digoxin toxicity, the test can confirm an overdose.
  3. Non-compliance Suspicions: To verify if a patient is taking their medication as prescribed, especially if symptoms do not improve or worsen.
  4. After Changing Dosage: If the dosage of digoxin has been altered, doctors might want to check how the change affected blood levels.

What a Digoxin Test Checks For

The Digoxin test measures the amount of the drug in the bloodstream to ensure it's within the therapeutic range, which typically lies between 0.5 ng/mL to 2.0 ng/mL, though this range might differ based on the laboratory or the clinical scenario. Levels higher than the therapeutic range can be toxic and harmful, while levels below might be ineffective for treatment.

Other Lab Tests Ordered Alongside a Digoxin Test

When a Digoxin test is ordered, it's usually part of a broader assessment of heart health and medication management. Here are some tests commonly ordered alongside it:

  1. Electrolyte Panel:

    • Purpose: To measure the levels of key electrolytes in the blood.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Electrolyte imbalances, particularly potassium and magnesium levels, can affect digoxin's action and increase the risk of toxicity.
  2. Renal Function Test:

    • Purpose: To assess kidney function.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Kidney function affects how digoxin is excreted from the body. Impaired renal function can lead to increased digoxin levels and risk of toxicity.
  3. Liver Function Test:

    • Purpose: To assess liver health.
    • Why Is It Ordered: While digoxin is primarily eliminated by the kidneys, liver function can also influence drug metabolism, especially in the presence of other medications.
  4. Complete Blood Count (CBC):

    • Purpose: To evaluate overall blood health.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To identify any underlying conditions that might complicate the treatment of heart disease or the management of digoxin therapy.
  5. Thyroid Function Tests:

    • Purpose: To assess thyroid gland function.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Thyroid disorders can affect heart function and the metabolism of medications like digoxin.
  6. Brain Natriuretic Peptide (BNP) or NT-proBNP:

    • Purpose: To measure levels of these peptides, which are elevated in heart failure.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To assess and monitor heart failure severity and response to treatment, including digoxin therapy.

These tests, when ordered alongside a Digoxin test, provide a comprehensive evaluation of a patient’s cardiovascular status and help in the effective management of their heart condition and digoxin therapy. They assist in monitoring for potential side effects, assessing the risk of digoxin toxicity, and ensuring the optimal efficacy of the treatment regimen. The specific combination of tests will depend on the individual’s medical history, the condition being treated, and any concurrent medications or health issues.

Conditions or Diseases Requiring a Digoxin Test

A Digoxin test is primarily required for individuals with:

  1. Heart Failure: To improve heart pumping capability and symptoms.
  2. Atrial Fibrillation or Flutter: To help regulate and slow down heart rate.

How Health Care Providers Use the Results of a Digoxin Test

The results of the Digoxin test help healthcare providers:

  1. Optimize Treatment: If the levels are too low, a dose adjustment might be required. If they are too high, it might indicate the need to decrease the dosage or discontinue the drug.
  2. Identify Toxicity: High digoxin levels can lead to toxicity, presenting symptoms like nausea, vomiting, visual disturbances, and arrhythmias. Identifying and addressing this early can prevent complications.
  3. Monitor Compliance: Ensuring that patients are taking their medication as prescribed.

By frequently monitoring digoxin levels, healthcare providers can offer the most effective treatment while minimizing potential risks associated with this medication.

Most Common Questions About the Digoxin test:

Purpose and Clinical Indications

Why is the Digoxin test performed?

The Digoxin test is performed to measure the concentration of digoxin in the blood to determine if levels fall within the therapeutic range. Digoxin is a medication used primarily to treat heart failure and atrial fibrillation. Monitoring its levels ensures that they are not too low, which could render the medication ineffective, or too high, which could lead to digoxin toxicity.

What symptoms might prompt a physician to order a Digoxin test?

A physician might order a Digoxin test if a patient exhibits symptoms of digoxin toxicity or if there's a concern about adequate medication adherence. Symptoms of digoxin toxicity include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, visual disturbances, confusion, unusual tiredness, and arrhythmias.

Interpretation of Results

What does a high result in the Digoxin test indicate?

A high result in the Digoxin test can indicate that the concentration of digoxin in the blood is higher than the recommended therapeutic range. This could mean the patient is at risk for digoxin toxicity, which can have severe or even life-threatening effects on the heart and other systems in the body.

How are the results of the Digoxin test used in clinical decision making?

The results of the Digoxin test play a critical role in clinical decision-making. If levels are found to be outside the therapeutic range, the dosage may be adjusted. For levels that are too high, digoxin might be stopped temporarily, and the patient may be monitored for signs of toxicity. If levels are too low, the physician might question the patient about medication adherence or consider increasing the dosage.

Clinical Implications

How frequently should the Digoxin test be conducted in patients taking digoxin?

The frequency with which the Digoxin test should be conducted varies based on individual patient needs, the clinical scenario, and physician preference. Initially, it might be checked more frequently until a stable therapeutic level is achieved. Once stabilized, less frequent monitoring may be sufficient. However, it should also be checked whenever there's a significant change in the patient's condition or if the patient starts or stops other medications that might interact with digoxin.

Can the Digoxin test be affected by other medications or substances?

Yes, the Digoxin test can be affected by other medications or substances. Many drugs can interact with digoxin, potentially increasing or decreasing its levels in the blood. Some examples include certain antiarrhythmic medications, diuretics, and some antibiotics. It's essential for patients to inform their healthcare providers about all medications and supplements they are taking to ensure accurate interpretation of the test results.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

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