How effective is digitalis in the treatment of congestive heart failure?

Am Heart J. 1988 Oct;116(4):1063-70. doi: 10.1016/0002-8703(88)90161-5.


The evidence suggests that digitalis glycosides do indeed improve ventricular performance through a sustained but moderate positive inotropic effect. This effect is more marked in failing than in nonfailing myocardium. The clinical studies suggest a moderate salutary effect in patients with chronic CHF who are in sinus rhythm. The drug can be given safely to patients with CAD and in combination with other medications when the physician is aware of those factors leading to increased sensitivity to digitalis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiotonic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Coronary Disease / drug therapy
  • Digitalis Glycosides / therapeutic use*
  • Digitalis Glycosides / toxicity
  • Digoxin / therapeutic use
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Contraction / drug effects
  • Time Factors
  • Vasodilator Agents / therapeutic use


  • Cardiotonic Agents
  • Digitalis Glycosides
  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Digoxin