Congestive heart failure is a progressive disease with significant morbidity and mortality. Despite advances in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, the incidence and prevalence of congestive heart failure have increased in recent years. Contributing factors include increased survival in patients with coronary artery disease (especially myocardial infarction), an aging population and significant advances in the control of other potentially lethal diseases. New and existing agents, including angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, beta blockers and, more recently, spironolactone, are being used increasingly to prolong life in patients with heart failure. Although digoxin has been used to treat heart failure for more than 200 years, its role in patients with congestive heart failure and sinus rhythm is still debatable. Over the past decade, digoxin has received renewed attention because of recognition of its neurohormonal effect and the successful use of lower dosages. In recent trials, digoxin has been shown to reduce morbidity associated with congestive heart failure but to have no demonstrable effect on survival. The goal of digoxin therapy in patients with congestive heart failure is to improve quality of life by reducing symptoms and preventing hospitalizations.