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The digoxin test checks to see how much of the medication digoxin you have in your blood. Digoxin is a type of medicine called a cardiac glycoside, which is used to treat certain heart problems.
See also: Digoxin overdose
Blood is typically drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The site is cleaned with germ-killing medicine (antiseptic). The health care provider wraps an elastic band around the upper arm to apply pressure to the area and make the vein swell with blood.
Next, the health care provider gently inserts a needle into the vein. The blood collects into an airtight vial or tube attached to the needle. The elastic band is removed from your arm.
Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.
In infants or young children, a sharp tool called a lancet may be used to puncture the skin and make it bleed. The blood collects into a small glass tube called a pipette, or onto a slide or test strip. A bandage may be placed over the area if there is any bleeding.
Consult your health care provider about the need to take (or not take) usual medications before the test.
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.
The main purpose of this test is to monitor patients taking digoxin in order to determine the best drug dosage and prevent side effects.
Monitoring of drug levels is important in people taking digitalis medications such as digoxin, because the difference between therapeutic levels and harmful levels is small.
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