Serum digitoxin measurement is used to monitor drug levels in the body during treatment.
Digitoxin (as well as digoxin) is used in the prophylactic management and treatment of heart failure and Ebstein's tricuspid abnormality and for the control of heart rate in patients with atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter. It can also be used to treat and prevent recurrent paroxysmal atrial tachycardia. Serum levels of digitoxin (and digoxin) are monitored at the start of treatment, when symptoms of toxicity due to symptoms are suspected, and to assess patient's compliance to treatment. Once a steady-state is established, regular check-ups are usually not necessary.
Digitoxin (Lanatoxin) is a long-acting cardiac glycoside with a half-life of 5-7 days with peak concentrations occurring 1-3 hours after administration. 90% is metabolized in the liver and excreted in the urine. The major property of cardiac glycoside is the positive inotropic action on the myocardium. It also reduces the transmission speed through the atrioventricular node and also prolongs the irritable period of the node. It reduces diastolic blood pressure and heart rate during sleep. Serum digitoxin levels are elevated in oleander poisoning.
Symptoms of digitoxin toxicity (as well as digoxin) include anorexia, hyperkalemia, changes in mental status, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, visual distortion in which the objects appear yellow or green or have a halo around them. Severe toxic symptoms are bradycardia and atrioventricular blockade.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. The correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.