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
Azboomer avatar

Hi A-Fibbers, 

As an active, semi-retired 72 year old, I have been recently diagnosed (April 2019) with paroxysmal AF and my cardiologist has had me on Metoprolol (25mg) and Eliquis for 2 months with minimal side effects. However, I do have a slow H/R at times in the mid-40's.I have had 24 hour+ AF episodes about once or twice per month for 3 months. My sleep apnea is well managed on a CPAP. I exercise at the gym about 4-5 times a week and just started a Yoga class which may help my AF.

Today, my new EP told me to drop Metoprolol and start Multaq (400 mg) twice a day. He said it should correct my slow H/R and has a good chance at stopping my AF episodes. However, my concern is the possible side effects (especially GI effects) from Multaq that I read about on this forum. On one hand, I could stay with Metoprolol which I have safely adjusted to--"if it ain't broke, don't fix it". On the other hand, I think Multaq may have a better chance of long term AF success, if I can handle the side effects.

Fortunately, my cardiologist and my EP are both top rated and highly respected in their medical fields in the Phoenix area.

What advice would you have for an AF newbie like me?  Stay with Metoprolol or try Multaq? I appreciate your inputs.

Thanks for making this forum a very valuable resource for us new A-Fibbers!

Best Regards,

John

Salitria1 avatar

I was diagnosed with AFIB on May 10th, 2019. I am  42 years old, and I am a single parent to my five year old son. I am terrified. I don’t know what the future holds for me with this condition. I have never been ill before and never been on meds until now. I’m now on Eliquis and Amiodorone. When I first began taking theses meds last week they made me nauseous and gave me headaches that wouldn’t subside. I work in corrections and I’m afraid to be in such an aggressive environment while on blood thinners. I have to work and make a living. I’m also scheduled to start nursing school in September. Due to AFIB, should I put School on hold. I want to see my son grow into a man. I feel devastated by this diagnosis. I see a EP at The University of Chicago Hospital in June. What kinds of questions should I ask!!! I thank everyone in advance for their time.

rtrigo avatar

Hello

I am new to the group.  I had an epidode in 2013 after working out where my heartbeat got up to 235bpm.  I was given a hit by the defib in the amublance, two months later I had a catheter ablation.  Doc basically told me to try and live a stress free life.  (yeah sure)  Fast forward six years to 2019, I have another episode and have to get hit again by the defib in the amubalnce.  No surgery this time.  The doc pumped me with adrenaline but could not duplicate what happened.  He said the only link to the 2013 episode was the low level of potassium. He changed my BP meds and eat leafy greens.  Since I've been hit twice by the defib I've noticed my hearing isnt so great.  I've experienced flashback where I can feel the electricity run through my chest.  Just wondering if anyone else has had such side effects.  That defib is no joke and I felt like a mac truck hit me but i survived.

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