NYMC Faculty Publications


Digoxin Use and Lower Risk of 30-Day All-Cause Readmission in Older Patients with Heart Failure and Reduced Ejection Fraction receiving Beta-Blockers

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BACKGROUND: Digoxin use has been associated with a lower risk of 30-day all-cause admission and readmission in patients with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF). HYPOTHESIS: Digoxin use will be associated with improved outcomes in patients with HFrEF receiving beta-blockers. METHODS: Of the 3076 hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries with HFrEF (EF <45%), 1046 received a discharge prescription for beta-blockers, of which 634 were not on digoxin. Of the 634, 204 received a new discharge prescription for digoxin. Propensity scores for digoxin use, estimated for each of the 634 patients, were used to assemble a matched cohort of 167 pairs of patients receiving and not receiving digoxin, balanced on 30 baseline characteristics. Matched patients (n = 334) had a mean age of 74 years and were 46% female and 30% African American. RESULTS: 30-day all-cause readmission occurred in 15% and 27% of those receiving and not receiving digoxin, respectively (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.51, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.31-0.83, P = 0.007). This beneficial association persisted during 4 years of follow-up (HR: 0.72, 95% CI: 0.57-0.92, P = 0.008). Digoxin use was also associated with a lower risk of the combined endpoint of all-cause readmission or all-cause mortality at 30 days (HR: 0.54, 95% CI: 0.34-0.86, P = 0.009) and at 4 years (HR: 0.76, 95% CI: 0.61-0.96, P = 0.020). CONCLUSIONS: In hospitalized patients with HFrEF receiving beta-blockers, digoxin use was associated with a lower risk of 30-day all-cause readmission but not mortality, which persisted during longer follow-up.


Complete list of authors:

Phillip H. Lam, Poonam Bhyan, Cherinne Arundel, Daniel J. Dooley, Helen M. Sheriff, Selma F. Mohammed, Gregg C. Fonarow, Charity J. Morgan, Wilbert S. Aronow, Richard M. Allman, Finn Waagstein, Ali Ahmed