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The heart of the matter ? LGC improves therapeutic drug monitoring for cardiac arrhythmia

Date:08 December 2011

LGC, the UK's designated National Measurement Institute for chemical and bioanalytical measurement, has developed two new clinical reference materials for digoxin; a drug instrumental in the treatment of congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia.

Digoxin has a narrow therapeutic range in humans - above the therapeutic range and digoxin is highly toxic, below and the treatment is ineffective. You may remember the scene in Casino Royale where James Bond tries to defibrillate himself after being poisoned by a Vesper Martini tainted with digoxin. He develops ventricular tachycardia, an increased rhythm of the heart, which can lead to ventricular fibrillation and sudden death.

LGC?s two new reference materials, which closely match the upper and lower levels for digoxin monitoring, are both certified as European Reference Materials (ERM®) and made under LGC?s accreditation to ISO Guide 34 for the production of reference materials. They are intended for use by clinical laboratories for determining digoxin levels in human serum through method validation and performance monitoring of methods, providing an effective means of measurement traceability.

Gill Holcombe, Head of Reference Material Production at LGC explains: ?Assays for determining levels of digoxin in human serum are independently calibrated but without traceability to an accepted high order reference material. This means that concentration values may not be comparable between different methods or hospital laboratories, posing potential risks to patients. LGC?s new reference materials will improve confidence in measurement, helping clinicians to ensure optimum therapeutic effect and minimise the occurrence of adverse events.?

The reference materials, ERM®-DA200a Frozen Human Serum ? Digoxin, High Level and ERM®-DA201a Frozen Human Serum - Digoxin, Low Level are available from LGC Standards (www.lgcstandards.com), the division of LGC that provides products and services to improve measurement in the laboratory. For prices and ordering information, please email: uksales@lgcstandards.com or call +44 (0)20 8943 8480.

This work was funded by the UK National Measurement System.

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Notes to editors

About LGC

LGC (www.lgcgroup.com) is an international science-based company and market leader in analytical, forensic, biotechnology, and diagnostic services, as well as diagnostic products and reference standards. LGC operates in a variety of markets which underpin the safety, health and security of the public and the regulation of industry, for both public and private sector clients.

LGC operates internationally through four divisions - LGC Forensics, LGC Genomics, LGC Standards and LGC Science & Technology. The latter includes specialist laboratories delivering contracts for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and supports LGC's designated role as the UK's National Measurement Institute for chemical and bioanalytical measurement.

Our operations are extensively accredited to international quality standards such as ISO/IEC 17025. With headquarters in Teddington, South West London, the LGC Group employs ca 1,460 staff in 35 laboratories and centres globally. Privatised in 1996 and now majority-owned by funds managed by Bridgepoint, LGC was founded almost 170 years ago as the Laboratory of the Government Chemist - a statutory function maintained by LGC today.

For further information please contact:

Gavin Dallas

Communications / Press Officer

LGC, Queens Road, Teddington, Middlesex, TW11 0LY, UK

Tel: +44 (0)20 8943 7000

Fax: +44 (0)20 8943 2767

Direct Line: +44 (0)20 8943 8491

Email: gavin.dallas@lgcgroup.com

Web: www.lgcgroup.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/LGCGroup

Blog: www.blog.lgcgroup.com

LGC - setting standards in analytical science

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