Digoxin intoxication in patients of a geriatric hospital: A second look 10 years after

Arthur Leibovitz*, Lida Rosin, Israel Gil, Armand Berant, Beni Habot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The risk of digoxin intoxication (DI) is a constant concern regarding elderly patients treated with this drug. A survey of the cases of DI performed over the period 1980-1983 is the basis of reference for this present study, which covers the period 1993-1996 and is aimed at evaluating trends or changes related to DI ten years later. Data on the patients diagnosed as having DI during the study period were retrieved from the medical records of Shmuel Harofe Hospital Geriatric Medical Center. A significant decrease in the rate of DI cases, from 1:32% to 0.7% of the admissions in the period studied, was revealed (P < 0.01). The mean age of the patients in the present study was higher (P < 0.001) and in 18% of admissions, the diagnosis of DI was mentioned in the letters of referral to hospital. In the previous study, 69% of the patients who developed DI in the community were living alone or living with an elderly spouse, compared with 64% in the present study. Our findings suggest that community physicians are now handling cases of DI with more skill and their awareness to this risk has increased. Our study also revealed a previously unnoticed risk factor for DI in the elderly-the a sociofamilial factor. Attention to this point will contribute to reducing further the risk of DI cases in the elderly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-35
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Aging and Pharmacotherapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Arrhythmia
  • Digoxin intoxication
  • Physician awareness
  • Serum potassium


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