Digitalis glycosides, Biology

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The digitalis glycosides are the only orally active positive inotropic agents currently available. The positive inotropic occurs through inhibition of the enzyme Na+-K+-ATPase leading to an increase in the cytocyclic Ca2+ concentration resulting in a subsequent increase in previously reduced myocyte contraction (Hurst). It reduces heart rate via parasympathomimetic effects that is useful in enhancing ventricular filling and reduces pulmonary congestion.


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