Digitalis must be banished from the table: a rare case of acute accidental Digitalis intoxication of a whole family

J Cardiovasc Med (Hagerstown). 2009 Sep;10(9):727-32. doi: 10.2459/JCM.0b013e32832c2314.


Advanced Digitalis intoxication is a rare event, mainly associated with overdose in patients with Digitalis therapy. We report an unusual case of acute 'familiar' digitalis poisoning in three patients who had eaten potato dumplings flavoured with leaves of Borago officinalis L. unconsciously mixed with leaves of Digitalis purpurea L. A complicated clinical course with marked bradyarrhythmias was presented, with good evolution thanks to the use of digoxin-specific antibody Fab fragments. The theme of the domestic use of plants with medicinal effects has been treated and discussed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Antidotes / therapeutic use
  • Bradycardia / chemically induced*
  • Bradycardia / physiopathology
  • Bradycardia / therapy
  • Cardiac Glycosides / immunology
  • Cardiac Glycosides / poisoning*
  • Charcoal / therapeutic use
  • Digitalis*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Food Contamination*
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plant Leaves
  • Poisoning / etiology
  • Poisoning / therapy


  • Antidotes
  • Cardiac Glycosides
  • Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments
  • digoxin antibodies Fab fragments
  • Charcoal