Digoxin-lnduced positive exercise tests: Their clinical and prognostic significance

Michael H. Sketch, Aryan N. Mooss, Mary L. Butler, Chandra K. Nair, Syed M. Mohiuddin

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35 Scopus citations


To evaluate the influence of digoxin on the results of exercise testing and the prognostic significance of digoxin-induced positive exercise tests, 98 healthy men, aged 22 to 70 years, were studied. All had normal initial exercise test results. All took digoxin, 0.25 mg daily, for 14 days, and then performed daily exercise tests until each had a negative test response. Five years after these initial tests, a medical history was obtained from 92 of the 98 subjects, and 76 subjects performed repeat exercise tests. Six subjects were lost to follow-up study. Twenty-five percent of subjects (22 of 98) had a digoxin-induced positive exercise test. There was a direct relation between age and the incidence of digoxin-positive tests. The incidence of digoxin-positive tests in men over age 60 years was 100 percent. By 30 seconds after exercise no subject had greater than 1.9 mm S-T depression. No test remained positive for more than 6 minutes after exercise was discontinued. No test was positive 12 days after digoxin was withdrawn. With logistic regression analysis, it was possible to estimate the probability that a subject would have a digoxin-induced positive test. No subject had had a cardiovascular event at follow-up study, but five subjects had a positive repeat exercise test. Four of these subjects had had a digoxin-positive test initially. It is concluded that (1) useful information can be obtained from exercise studies of patients who receive digoxin, (2) the probability that a positive exercise test is due to digoxin can be estimated, (3) to remove the exercise-induced electrocardiographic effect, the drug should be withdrawn for 12 days, and (4) digoxin may unmask subclinical coronary arterial stenosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-659
Number of pages5
JournalThe American Journal of Cardiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1981

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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