A Trial of Digoxin Before Second-Trimester Abortion

2014-08-27 03:16:41 | BioPortfolio


The purpose of our study is to determine the optimum route for the injection of digoxin prior to second-trimester surgical abortion.


Of the 1.2 million abortions each year in the U.S., approximately 12% take place in the second trimester of pregnancy. The preferred technique for second-trimester pregnancy termination is dilation and evacuation, or D&E. In 2006, 144,000 D&Es were performed in the U.S. Clinicians often achieve preoperative fetal asystole by a maternal transabdominal injection of digoxin. Prior to D&E, providers use digoxin to induce fetal death 1) for providers' preference to facilitate surgical delivery of the fetus, and/or 2) for patients who express a desire for fetal death prior to the abortion.

The use of digoxin to achieve preoperative fetal asystole is widespread, yet there are no evidence-based standards for how to best achieve fetal asystole prior to D&E. Digoxin has been administered by intracardiac, intrathoracic, intrafetal and intra-amniotic routes, with doses varying from 0.25 to 2mg. Clinicians who use digoxin usually inject it one to two days before the D&E. Only one study has assessed the effectiveness of digoxin at varying dosages ; this was a retrospective and nonrandomized analysis. Published failure rates are based on small numbers of patients and are therefore imprecise. Intrafetal digoxin injection may be more effective, but is a technically more difficult procedure than intra-amniotic injection. The pharmacodynamics of digoxin when used for feticide are also unknown. The objective of this study is to determine the optimum route for digoxin injection (intrafetal or intra-amniotic) that will maximize patient safety while maintaining effectiveness.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label


Induced Abortion


intra-fetal digoxin injection, intra-amniotic digoxin injection


Parkmed Physicians
New York
New York
United States




White, Katharine O'Connell, M.D., M.P.H.

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:16:41-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A cardiac glycoside sometimes used in place of DIGOXIN. It has a longer half-life than digoxin; toxic effects, which are similar to those of digoxin, are longer lasting. (From Martindale, The Extra Pharmacopoeia, 30th ed, p665)

Alpha- or beta-acetyl derivatives of DIGOXIN or lanatoside C from Digitalis lanata. They are better absorbed and longer acting than digoxin and are used in congestive heart failure.

3 beta,12 beta,14-Trihydroxy-5 beta-card-20(22)-enolide. A cardenolide which is the aglycon of digoxin. Can be obtained by hydrolysis of digoxin or from Digitalis orientalis L. and Digitalis lanata Ehrh.

A semisynthetic digitalis glycoside with the general properties of DIGOXIN but more rapid onset of action. Its cardiotonic action is prolonged by its demethylation to DIGOXIN in the liver. It has been used in the treatment of congestive heart failure (HEART FAILURE).

A genus of anaerobic, gram-negative bacteria in the family Fusobacteriaceae. Some species cause BACTEREMIA and some intra-amniotic infections.

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