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Monitoring free digoxin instead of total digoxin in patients with congestive heart failure and high concentrations of digoxin-like immunoreactive substances



Monitoring free digoxin instead of total digoxin in patients with congestive heart failure and high concentrations of digoxin-like immunoreactive substances



Clinical Chemistry 36(12): 2121-2123



Digoxin-like immunoreactive substances (DLIS) are present in patients with conditions associated with volume expansion (including hypervolemic hypertension, renal failure, and liver failure) and in pre-eclampsia and premature birth. These strongly-protein-bound substances cross-react with anti-digoxin antibodies and cause falsely increased measured concentrations of digoxin in serum. Patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) often have volume expansion and are receiving digoxin therapy. They are also very sensitive to digoxin toxicity and have a very narrow therapeutic range (1.0-1.9 nmol/L). We found monitoring the concentrations of free digoxin (in protein-free ultrafiltrates) helpful in eliminating the interferences of DLIS in CHF patients. DLIS concentrations were measured by fluorescence polarization assay. Concentrations of DLIS were detectable in significantly more (58.3%) of the 12 CHF patients (group A) who were not receiving digoxin than in the 22 normal volunteers tested (13.6%) (P less than 0.05 by both chi-square and Fisher's exact test). Protein-free filtrates from patients or normal volunteers did not show any measurable DLIS activities. We also determined the concentrations of total and free digoxin in 12 patients with CHF who were receiving digoxin (group B) and compared the results with those for 22 patients receiving digoxin without the diagnosis of CHF or any known pathological conditions that could increase DLIS concentrations. The ratio of free to total digoxin in patients in group B was significantly lower (mean = 52.8%, SD 10.2%) than in those receiving digoxin (mean = 72.7%, SD 6.5%) for other reasons (independent two-tailed t-test, P less than 0.05).

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Accession: 040727966

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PMID: 2253358


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