Digoxin, Screen

Test ID: 


CPT code:




Clinical Use:

Diagnose and prevent digoxin toxicity; prevent underdosage; monitor therapeutic drug level; prevention and therapy of cardiac arrhythmias

Test Information:

Be sure the patient is not on digitoxin instead of digoxin. Digitoxin is also an active component of digitalis leaf. The 2013 ACCF/HCA Guidelines for Management of Heart Failure suggest a therapeutic range of 0.5-0.9 ng/mL for digoxin. Ninety percent of nontoxic patients have levels ≤2.0 ng/mL, 87% of toxic patients have levels >2.0 ng/mL. Levels >3.0 ng/mL in adults are strongly suggestive of overdosage; however, digitalis levels must always be interpreted in light of clinical and chemical data. Older, smaller patients require less digoxin. The primary cause of digoxin toxicity in the aged is decreased renal function. Renal failure, hypercalcemia, alkalosis, myxedema, hypomagnesemia, recent MI and other acute heart disease, hypokalemia, and hypoxia may increase sensitivity to the toxic effects of digoxin. It is recommended that serum digoxin concentration be measured before initiation of quinidine therapy and again in four to six days.

When confronted with unexpectedly low digoxin levels, consider thyroid disease, malabsorption, cholestyramine, colestipol, kaolin, pectin, neomycin, sulfasalazine, anticholinergic drug effects, and reduced intestinal blood flow from mesenteric arteriosclerosis. Consider as well congestive failure when low digoxin levels are encountered.

Patients with digitalis resistance may require larger doses and higher than usual serum levels (eg, patients with hyperthyroidism).

The probability that a patient will take a drug exactly as the physician has prescribed it has been shown to be hardly better than half. The probability is less among elderly patients getting a large number of medications. Measure trough, because of variability of peak interval.

Fab fragments of digoxin-specific sheep antibodies are available for the treatment of digoxin toxicities but should be limited to potentially life-threatening overdoses.

Compounds with “digoxin-like” immunoreactivity are present in a variety of clinical states associated with salt and fluid retention (eg, renal failure, pregnancy third trimester, congestive heart failure) and are also present during the first two weeks of neonatal life. These compounds (DLF − digoxin-like factors, etc) cross-react with digoxin-specific immunoassays and give falsely elevated plasma digoxin levels. Laboratories must evaluate new antibody preparations for cross-reactivity with the factors.

Specimen Type:


Requested Volume: 

0.8 mL

Minimum Volume: 

0.3 mL

Container Type: 

Red-top tube or gel-barrier tube


If a red-top tube is used, transfer separated serum to a plastic transport tube. Blood specimen must be drawn six to eight hours after the administration of the last dose (levels drawn earlier than six hours after a dose will be artificially elevated). Collect specimen just before dose if steady-state estimate is needed. The steady-state is usually attained in five days.

Storage Instructions:

Room temperature

Stability Requirements:



Room temperature

14 days


14 days


14 days

Freeze/thaw cycles

Stable x3

Rejection Criteria:

Citrate plasma specimen; improper labeling.

Return Back to Test Directory

MCI Diagnostic

Providing top patient care with fast results. 

7018 South Utica Avenue

Tulsa, Oklahoma 74136

Hours of Operation

Mon – Sat: 7AM-11PM

Sun: 7AM-3PM

Government Contract

Mon – Sat: 7AM-11PM

Sun: 7AM-3PM


Mon – Sat: 7AM-11PM

Sun: 7AM-3PM

Thank you for uploading your files. Your upload has been submitted successfully.