Endogenous digoxin-like substance(s) associated with uneventful and high-risk pregnancies

G. Koren, D. Farine, H. Grundmann, J. Heyes, S. Soldin, J. Taylor, S. M. MacLeod

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12 Scopus citations


We assessed the existence of endogenous digoxin-like substance(s) (EDLS) in mother-neonate pairs using a routine radioimmunoassay for digoxin. None of those studied had been treated with cardiac glycosides during or before pregnancy. In uneventful pregnancies, cord EDLS levels (0.31 ± 0.02 ng/ml mean ± SEM) were significantly higher (p < 0.001) than both antepartum and postpartum maternal levels (0.14 ± 0.02 and 0.17 ± 0.02 ng/ml, respectively). This observation was in contrast with findings in high risk-pregnancies. In general, EDLS levels in the high-risk group were significantly higher than in normal pregnancies (cord 0.94 ± 0.38 ng/ml; antepartum 1.63 ± 0.54 ng/ml; postpartum 0.89 ± 0,73 ng/ml). In the high-risk group there was a remarkably wide range of maternal and cord EDLS concentrations. The present studies suggest that following pregnancies of high risk for a variety of reasons, EDLS determination may be commonly high in the perinatal period and may affect the determination of 'true' digoxin. Consequently, digoxin dosing based on monitoring drug concentration may be futile.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-87
Number of pages6
JournalDevelopmental Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


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