cardiac glycoside

noun

Medical Definition of cardiac glycoside 

: any of several glycosides (such as digitoxin or ouabain) occurring typically in plants (such as the foxglove or squill) and acting on the heart to increase the force and rate of myocardial contraction Although two centuries of anecdotal clinical evidence support the use of cardiac glycosides for the treatment of heart failure, controversy has surrounded their efficacy and appropriate indications. —Thomas W. Smith, The New England Journal of Medicine, 1 July 1993

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