Serum digitoxin concentrations in infants and children.
Serum digitoxin levels were measured in 18 infants (under two years) and in 23 children (aged 2-13 years) receiving maintenance therapy. Digitalization was carried out because of heart failure in 17 infants and 13 children and for control of dysrhythmia in one infant and 10 children. Mean maintenance dosage for infants was 0.0042 plus or minus 0.0008 (sd) mg/kg/day and for children was 0.0031 plus or minus 0.0012 mg/kg/day. The mean serum digitoxin level was not significantly different in infants (30 plus or minus 10 ng/ml, range 14-58) from that found for children (34 plus or minus 11 ng/ml, range 19-61). Both values were significantly different (P smaller than 0.001) from those determined in this laboratory for adults (mean 24 plus or minus 7 ng/ml, range 5-39). In four infants with electrocardiographic or other evidence of toxicity, the mean serum level was 71 plus or minus 2 ng/ml (range 68-72), and in four children with electrocardiographic or other evidence of toxicity, the mean serum level for digitoxin was 72 plus or minus 14 ng/ml (range 53-84). The data suggest that infants and children tolerate a higher serum digitoxin concentration without any evidence of toxicity and may require more digitoxin (mg/kg) for therapeutic effect than do adults. Serum digitoxin levels may serve as an important guide in determining the adequacy of digitalization and in the recognition and management of digitalis toxicity.
- Copyright © 1975 by American Heart Association