Skip to main content
Increased Mortality Associated With Digoxin in Contemporary Patients With Atrial Fibrillation: Findings From the TREAT-AF Study. Journal of the American College of Cardiology Turakhia, M. P., Santangeli, P., Winkelmayer, W. C., Xu, X., Ullal, A. J., Than, C. T., Schmitt, S., Holmes, T. H., Frayne, S. M., Phibbs, C. S., Yang, F., Hoang, D. D., Ho, P. M., Heidenreich, P. A. 2014; 64 (7): 660-668

Abstract

Despite endorsement of digoxin in clinical practice guidelines, there exist limited data on its safety in atrial fibrillation/flutter (AF).The goal of this study was to evaluate the association of digoxin with mortality in AF.Using complete data of the TREAT-AF (The Retrospective Evaluation and Assessment of Therapies in AF) study from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system, we identified patients with newly diagnosed, nonvalvular AF seen within 90 days in an outpatient setting between VA fiscal years 2004 and 2008. We used multivariate and propensity-matched Cox proportional hazards to evaluate the association of digoxin use with death. Residual confounding was assessed by sensitivity analysis.Of 122,465 patients with 353,168 person-years of follow-up (age 72.1 ± 10.3 years, 98.4% male), 28,679 (23.4%) patients received digoxin. Cumulative mortality rates were higher for digoxin-treated patients than for untreated patients (95 vs. 67 per 1,000 person-years; p < 0.001). Digoxin use was independently associated with mortality after multivariate adjustment (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.26, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.23 to 1.29, p < 0.001) and propensity matching (HR: 1.21, 95% CI: 1.17 to 1.25, p < 0.001), even after adjustment for drug adherence. The risk of death was not modified by age, sex, heart failure, kidney function, or concomitant use of beta-blockers, amiodarone, or warfarin.Digoxin was associated with increased risk of death in patients with newly diagnosed AF, independent of drug adherence, kidney function, cardiovascular comorbidities, and concomitant therapies. These findings challenge current cardiovascular society recommendations on use of digoxin in AF.

View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jacc.2014.03.060

View details for PubMedID 25125296