There's more to Coumadin therapy than a blood test. Learn how to work with Granite Medical's Anticoagulation Clinic to get the most from your anticoagulation therapy.
The Anticoagulation Clinic at Granite Medical
If you or someone you know is receiving anticoagulation therapy, you know how important it is to monitor the effects of Coumadin or other blood-thinning drugs. It is just as important to control diet and other factors in your life.
Granite Medical's Nurse Practitioner, Cecilia Mullen, and Nurses, Dawn Czorniak, Debbie Maloney and Alison Viviano, will work with you on a one-to-one basis to ensure that you get the maximum benefit from your Coumadin therapy.
Appointments are available from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and 7:00 am to 5:30 pm, Tuesday. It takes only a few minutes to test your blood.
Call 617.376.6636 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
Goal of the Anticoagulation Clinic
The goal of the Anticoagulation Clinic at Granite Medical is to provide consistent care for patients on both long- and short-term anticoagulation therapy in order to maximize the efficiency, safety, and cost-effectiveness of therapy.
Why take anticoagulants?
Anticoagulants help to prevent the formation of blood clots in the body (anti = against and coagulation = blood clotting). The anticoagulant most frequently used is Coumadin® (Wafarin Sodium).
Coumadin helps to reduce the body's ability to form blood clots. It does so by reducing vitamin K in the body's clotting process. Coumadin is recommended for many disorders including artrial fibrillation, phlebitis, certain types of valve replacements, pulmonary embolisms and stroke, among others.
Oral anticoagulants need to be monitored very closely as they have a very narrow therapeutic index. This means that just a little too much or too little can seriously alter the effectiveness of Coumadin, which is why frequent monitoring of the anticoagulant level in your blood is essential.
There are many different variables that can influence the anticoagulation level in the blood. Foods high in Vitamin K, antibiotics, steroids, antacids, aspirin, and alcohol are just a few things that can influence the blood test for Coumadin.
This blood test is known as INR (International Normalized Ratio), and is sometimes referred to as a PT (Protime) test. The PT/INR allows your caregivers to monitor the effectiveness of the dosage you are taking.
Desired test results
The desired level of your INR result depends on your reason for taking Coumadin. For those with atrial fibrillation, a range of 2 - 3 is common. For those with a mitral valve replacement, a range of 3 - 4 may be required. Your physician recommends the appropriate range for your INR based on a thorough medical history.
Frequent blood tests are important to be sure that the appropriate level of anticoagulant in your blood is maintained. The small machine that is used to measure the anticoagulant in your blood needs only one droplet of blood that is obtained through a small finger prick. This droplet is measured by a small machine and is given a numerical value (INR). Your Coumadin dosage is adjusted during the visit and you can ask any questions you may have. Any changes or concerns will be explained in detail.
While on Coumadin, it is important to take your medicine as directed at the same time each day. Be sure to tell your health care provider if a medicine or vitamin has been added or taken away, and keep a constant diet, avoid alcohol and aspirin products and report unusual symptoms such as bleeding gums or increased bruising.
The Coumadin Clinic is open Monday through Friday and questions are always encouraged. For more information about our clinic please contact us.