Monitoring Anticoagulation at Home

Monitoring Anticoagulation at Home

Are there any options for do-it-yourself monitoring?

While most people on warfarin or Coumadin® go to an anticoagulation clinic to monitor and test their blood’s clotting time, some people are able to do their own testing and monitoring from home. People who do so may feel a greater sense of control and ability to take part in managing their own care. This option is especially valuable for people who maintain a full schedule, enjoy traveling, or have other reasons that make it difficult to get to the clinic. The need for testing and monitoring at home only applies to people taking warfarin or Coumadin® for stroke risk reduction using anticoagulation medication; NOACs do not require testing.

Who is a good candidate for at-home anticoagulation monitoring?

If you have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and have been taking warfarin or Coumadin® for at least 90 days, you may be eligible to begin testing your INR or clotting time (also called Prothrombin time) from home. If you’re interested and willing to manage your part of the process, your healthcare provider can submit a request to authorize you to complete your testing and monitoring requirements from home. From there, you’ll work with your insurance provider or national healthcare benefits program to arrange for any necessary payments and connect you with a monitoring company that will provide the equipment and teach you the steps for timely and accurate measurement.

What is the process for at-home monitoring?

Most medical coverage options allow for weekly or bi-weekly testing, and the testing must usually be communicated back to the monitoring company who then communicates it to your doctor so that you can maintain a prescription for your medication. The monitoring company will alert your healthcare provider if results of your blood clotting time are out-of-range so your doctor can promptly adjust your dosage. This regular communication also allows the monitoring company to track your usage and send additional supplies when your usage data indicates you should be running low, which will save you time and energy.

People who monitor at home will likely want to create a convenient place for storing supplies, testing, and reporting results. During training, your monitoring company may help you work out a system to remind yourself when it’s time to test.

We encourage you to talk about your experience and share tips and insights with other users at our online forum.

Learn more about clot times, lab testing, and what your ratio means by visiting our Anticoagulation Lab section of AFib Town.

Recent Discussions From The At Home Forum
chickie63 avatar

Has anyone experienced "fog head" while on metoprolol? I'm currently tapering off to cardizem.

wsjuly avatar

Hello, ladies. Lots been happening on my end. In January, I went to my regular doctor and he said that everything, including lab results, looked normal. Was very pleased with the results. I shared with him my thoughts concerning the flu and the A Fib being combined causes of my stroke. He said that the A Fib puts one in the danger of having a stroke. Which means the flu could have been a coincidental situation. I did read through the article you gave me about the A Fib and flu and the studies from Hawaii that were trying to determine some sort of correlation between the two.

Hope you all have been having a good year thus far. 

johnnynemo avatar

Hello all. I had paroxysmal Afib (3 short episodes) 12-13 years ago, all within a few months. That was in my mid 50s. Because of that history I bought an Apple Watch, which finally paid off for me. Last Tuesday I went into Afib, this time with RVR. A couple of nights in the hospital to slow me down and home, follow up with my cardiologist next week. I've been on Diltiazem for 4 years, Metoprolol prior. The only change so far is to switch the Diltiazem to max dosage, so 240 twice a day, from 180 twice a day. So now at 67, I figure I'll have persistent Afib with RVR. I'm a USMC Vietnam vet too, if any others are here.

Anyway, I'm going through a period of feeling vulnerable and fragile, which I hate. I got over it for the most part the first time (except buying an Apple Watch shows me it's always been in the back of my mind) but am struggling a bit now that it's back. I'm assuming I'll be on a modern blood thinner/anticoagulant and am curious about others experiences with these drugs. I'm sure I'll feel somewhat better mentally after my cardiologist appointment.

Thanks for listening.

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