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Association of Digoxin With Preserved Echocardiographic Indices in the Interstage Period: A Possible Mechanism to Explain Improved Survival?
Journal of the American Heart Association  (IF5.501),  Pub Date : 2021-12-02, DOI: 10.1161/jaha.121.021443
Maria Batsis, Lazaros Kochilas, Alvin J. Chin, Michael Kelleman, Eric Ferguson, Matthew E. Oster

BackgroundFor patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, digoxin has been associated with reduced interstage mortality after the Norwood operation, but the mechanism of this benefit remains unclear. Preservation of right ventricular (RV) echocardiographic indices has been associated with better outcomes in hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Therefore, we sought to determine whether digoxin use is associated with preservation of the RV indices in the interstage period.Methods and ResultsWe conducted a retrospective cohort study of prospectively collected data using the public use data set from the Pediatric Heart Network Single Ventricle Reconstruction trial, conducted in 15 North American centers between 2005 and 2008. We included all patients who survived the interstage period and had echocardiographic data post‐Norwood and pre‐Glenn operations. We used multivariable linear regression to compare changes in RV parameters, adjusting for relevant covariates. Of 289 patients, 94 received digoxin at discharge post‐Norwood. There were no significant differences in baseline clinical characteristics or post‐Norwood echocardiographic RV indices (RV end‐diastolic volume indexed, RV end‐systolic volume indexed, ejection fraction) in the digoxin versus no‐digoxin groups. At the end of the interstage period and after adjustment for relevant covariates, patients on digoxin had better preserved RV indices compared with those not on digoxin for the ΔRV end‐diastolic volume (11 versus 15 mL, P=0.026) and the ΔRV end‐systolic volume (6 versus 9 mL, P=0.009) with the indexed ΔRV end‐systolic volume (11 versus 20 mL/BSA1.3, P=0.034). The change in the RV ejection fraction during the interstage period between the 2 groups did not meet statistical significance (−2 versus −5, P=0.056); however, the trend continued to be favorable for the digoxin group.ConclusionsDigoxin use during the interstage period is associated with better preservation of the RV volume and tricuspid valve measurements leading to less adverse remodeling of the single ventricle. These findings suggest a possible mechanism of action explaining digoxin’s survival benefit during the interstage period.