Anticoagulation (Coumadin) Clinic
Background: Indications for Anticoagulation
Your physician may prescribe various medications to reduce the blood's tendency to form clots. Agents such as aspirin and clopidogrel (Plavix) are relatively commonplace and well-tolerated. Heparin and Enoxaparin (Lovenox) require more careful monitoring and are usually administered in supervised settings such as the hospital.
Anticoagulants are medications that inhibit various mechanisms of blood clotting. Warfarin (Coumadin) is an anticoagulant that is prescribed when certain medical conditions warrant careful protection against blood clot formation. Common conditions include:
Atrial Fibrillation (AF): Affects more than two million Americans, and nearly 9% of those over the age of 65. It is responsible for 80,000 strokes annually due to the blood clot formation in the irregularly-beating upper heart chambers. AF increases an individual's risk of stroke four to five times.
Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE): Here, blood clots form in the deep veins of the legs, often following an injury, serious illness with bedrest, or surgery. May occur without clear predisposing factors. These blood clots can break free, travel to the lungs, and cause an embolism. Both DVT and PE are common and serious conditions.
Mechanical Heart Valves: Patients who have undergone heart valve replacement will often be instructed to take anticoagulants to prevent blood clot formation, especially if they have received mechanical valves. Bioprosthetic valves (using pig or cow tissue) require anticoagulation less frequently.
Cerebrovascular and Peripheral Vascular Diseases: Patients who have suffered strokes or have severe disease of the arteries of the legs or arms may be prescribed anticoagulants to prevent recurrent events and improve blood flow.
Coumadin Anticoagulation Program: Description
Once Coumadin is prescribed, it will be very important to regularly check the medication's effect on your blood's clotting tendency. In the Heart Care Centers of Illinois Outpatient Anticoagulation (Coumadin) Program, an experienced Registered Nurse Clinician will carefully tailor your medication dosage while offering counseling and education about your medical condition. International Normalized Ratio* (INR) measurements will be obtained using a fast and simple fingerstick method. Results are immediate, and any change of Coumadin dosage is made on the spot. Data from each visit including INR, patient assessment and regimen changes are sent via fax (or mail) to your referring physician the same day.
Outpatient Anticoagulation Programs have been shown to provide more precise control of blood-thinning. When enrolled, patients can expect improved outcomes, with fewer problems from either inadequate or excessive anticoagulation.
*INR has replaced protime as a more accurate and standardized measurement of anticoagulant activity.
For more information about the Coumadin Anticoagulation Program...
Call Heart Care Centers of Illinois at 1-888-642-4224
[1-888-642-HCCI] or Contact Us
For more information on:
- Side Effects of Warfarin/Coumadin
- Dietary Considerations
- Interactions with other medications...
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