(HealthDay News) – Digoxin therapy was independently associated with increased mortality in patients with systolic heart failure, according to research published in the September issue of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

James V. Freeman, MD, of Stanford University in California, and colleagues analyzed data from a community-based cohort of adults with newly diagnosed systolic heart failure to assess the effectiveness and safety of digoxin therapy.

The researchers found that digoxin was used in 529 (18%) of 2,891 patients with newly diagnosed systolic heart failure. During a median follow-up of 2.5 years, incident digoxin use was linked with higher rates of death (14.2 vs. 11.3 per 100 person-years) and heart failure hospitalization (28.2 vs. 24.4 per 100 person-years). In multivariable analysis, incident digoxin use was significantly associated with higher mortality (hazard ratio, 1.72; 95% confidence interval, 1.25–2.36), but not increased risk of heart failure hospitalization (hazard ratio, 1.05; 95% confidence interval, 0.82–1.34).

“These findings suggest that the use of digoxin should be re-evaluated for the treatment of systolic heart failure in the modern era,” the authors write.

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