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
Tmariez avatar

Hi!  I'm new to this group.  Hoping *** help me figure out my health.  A year ago, I was diagnosed with Afib and cardiomyopathy.  I'm struggling With how I got to this point.  Is it from stress or do I really have a heart condition.  That is a question I'm figuring out.  I'm generally a healthy person where I exercise, eat well and get about 7 to 8 hours of sleep.  Recently, I have been recommended for an ablation.  I'm not sure of the recommendation and have questions out to my cardiologist.  I'm in my early 40s and wonder if anyone out there is or was in similar boat as me.  Thanks!

quilabell avatar

Hi all!

I'm post-op day 5 from my first ablation (PVI cryotherapy). Although it has been a rocky road, two things are really concerning me and I would appreciate any input from you.

First, My fatigue is crazy. I feel like I have the flu without flu symptoms. I can only do a few of my ADL's, then pretty much need to lay down again. Is this usual and if so,how long until it improves? Ugh. I feel like I'm 95.

Second, I've had pretty awful headaches since I woke up from the surgery. I do have a long history of daily tension headaches, and these are the same except they do not respond to medication. I now have scintillating scotomas daily and the pain is more severe. I do not have any neurological symptoms, although I did have left hand and left cheek numbness for a few minutes (no motor defecits) that resolved when the scotoma resolved today. The headache pain is bi-temporal, throbbing and radiates to my teeth. Has anyone experienced these symptoms or should I go in? The LAST thing I want to see is a medical facility right now.

Incidentally, I am an Emergency Medicine/Trauma PA-C(Physician Assistant) with 21 years experience, 49 years old, no co-morbidities, paroxysmal a.fib x 5 years (one episode each 9 months until recently when all hell broke loose), history of Rheumatic fever and recent valve repair last month.

And no, I don't want to consult one of the many docs that I work with because this is not their specialty and they are all convinced that I am dying, which equals huge and unnecessary work ups.

Thanks in advance for any input!


hughesrl73 avatar

I have recently returned to active afib after being afib free for 8 years after having an ablation procedure in late 2011. I love my EP and he has given me the choices of: 1) living with it, 2) cardioversion (never had one), or 3) amioderone (sort of scares me).

I've also just learned that I have done some damage to my lungs (not sure of extent yet - still getting tests).  

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, scared, and trying to rationalize that this is my reality and I have to learn to accept it, but I honestly feel like I need some professional help like counseling.  I have a lot to be thankful for, but at 74, would hope to have a bit more time to enjoy this life.

Has anyone else done this and found it to be helpful. I'm just not sure where to start right now.




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