Infection and extramural delivery with use of digoxin as a feticidal agent

Steward R

Melamed A

Kim R

Nucatola D

Gatter M

Feb 2012


Many abortion providers use digoxin to induce fetal demise prior to dilation and evacuation (D&E). Our primary objective was to examine the frequency of infection and extramural delivery following digoxin use.


We conducted a retrospective single-cohort study. Inclusion criteria were all women between 18 and 24 weeks of estimated gestational age who received digoxin in preparation for D&E at our outpatient facility. We queried two electronic databases to collect data on the frequency of extramural delivery and the rate of perioperative infection.


From January 1, 2000, to December 31, 2008, 4906 abortions were performed between 18 and 24 weeks of estimated gestation with digoxin injection administered as feticidal agent 1 day prior to D&E. Extramural delivery frequency was 0.30%, and infection frequency was 0.04%. There were no significant differences in the frequency of extramural deliveries across procedure year (p = .2), estimated gestational age (p = .3), race/ethnicity (p = .2) or maternal age (p = .3).


Rates of extramural delivery and infection are acceptably low following digoxin use prior to scheduled D&E. Published by Elsevier Inc.