Research Article

Long-term digoxin treatment in general practice.

Br Med J 1975; 4 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.4.5999.747 (Published 27 December 1975) Cite this as: Br Med J 1975;4:747
  1. P Curtis

    Abstract

    A questionnaire was sent to several general practitioners and specialists in an attempt to obtain a consensus on standards of care for patients receiving long-term digoxin treatment. The consultants' suggested standards were slightly more stringent than those of the general practitioners. The records of 42 patients taking digoxin under the care of two general practitioners were studied to see how far their actual care matched up to the suggested standards. The models of management proposed by these patients' doctors were only slightly different from those suggested by other practitioners, but measured against these models the patients' care was in some cases inadequate. Nevertheless, there was little relationship between the recorded levels of care and the health of the patient, and it may have been the standard of recording rather than the care that was inadequate. Measuring plasma digoxin levels in these patients proved to be of little value. Medical audit is thus a useful tool in helping the general practitioner to review his work and improve his knowledge, but it may not be a practical or true way of measuring the quality of care.