To what extent do congestive heart failure patients in sinus rhythm benefit from digoxin therapy? A systematic overview and meta-analysis
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PURPOSE: To reappraise the effectiveness of digoxin for the treatment of congestive heart failure (CHF) in patients with sinus rhythm in light of data from recently published randomized controlled trials and to quantitatively assess its usefulness. STUDY IDENTIFICATION: Computerized searches of the MEDLINE database were performed, and the reference list of each retrieved article was reviewed. STUDY SELECTION: Review of more than 360 citations and the reference lists of 19 review articles and 61 potentially relevant articles revealed seven double-blind randomized controlled trials that were included in this overview. DATA EXTRACTION: Study quality was assessed and descriptive information concerning the study populations, the specific interventions, and clinically relevant outcome measurements was extracted. RESULTS OF DATA SYNTHESIS: The common odds ratio for CHF deterioration while receiving digoxin versus placebo was 0.28, with a 95% confidence interval of 0.16 to 0.49. Predictors of digoxin benefit included presence of a third heart sound and the severity and duration of CHF. CONCLUSION: Data from seven trials of high methodologic quality suggest that, on average, one out of nine patients with CHF and sinus rhythm derive a clinically important benefit from digoxin (with a 95% confidence interval of 1/33 to 1/5).
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