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
outofafib avatar

I am a new writer here so greetings all. My Afib attack was of the stealth variety. I was not aware of anything until my stomach began to bother me. This was approximately five weeks before I landed in the hospital. It was on and off with some bouts of constipation. The condition began to worsen. The feeling was as if a hand was squeezing my stomach. I wondered if I had ulcers or something wrong with my intestines. I made an appointment to see a gastroenterologist. I never made it. The constipation became so bad I went to an emergency room to get medicinal relief. While there I took off my shoe and showed the doctor my right foot. It was swollen. Both feet were swollen. That was that. I was hooked up every heart gizmo in the room. I was informed that my ejection fraction and spiked downward to an eight and then bounced up to a fourteen. My official reading once I was in the cardiac ward clocked me at eighteen. My heart had been hammered so badly that I was in Congestive Heart Failure.  I was informed that my heart tissue was thin. My heart had dramatically increased in size. The expectation was that I would need electronics and a heart transplant. I was informed I would need to live in an assisted living facility. This was a lot of grim news coming in fast.

I had all the drugs that are used to treat someone with my condition. I did have one catheter ablation.

As I was in the hospital events gradually turned in my favor. I have been a gym ****** most of my life. My diet and nutritonal supplements follow that kind of habit. I commented on that to the nurse on my case. She stated that may be why I was as I was. She stated that others on the ward at the same level as me could not walk or talk.

I was released from the hospital under my own steam. At that point I went off script. I continued to use the traditional meds but studied nutritional supplements specific to heart and brain health. I used extreme doses. When I had my second heart scan fourt months after my ablation my heart ejection fraction was clocked at sixty-five.  I had made it. No electronics, no heart transplant, heart tissue and size in normal states. I have been able to successfuly maintain my state up to present time. I have not informed my cardiologists of what I did in the shadows. They know I did something. One of my cardiologists told me I was an odd patient. I heard a lot of Wow, Wow, Wow over and over.

This battle took place from 2012 until the winter of 2017. I was fifty-seven and as of this writing I am sixty-five. No more heart meds. No more Afib episodes. I still have to monitor my blood pressure. This is responding to exercise and nutritional adjustments.

I really do exist. Take care all.

 

 

Tmariez avatar

Hi everyone!  I had my first ablation on Friday October 30th.  I was nervous going into it but everything was over quickly and went smoothly.  My recovery was not fun but it could have been worse.  I had to lie still for 6 hours, which I know is a common thing.  My back wasn't too happy though 😊 Anyways, I stayed overnight to make sure everything was good and I was discharged in the morning.  I'm now home taking it easy.  I'm taking a couple of days off from work but I'll prob take rest of week off since I'm not in rush to go back 😊. Thanks for the encouragement and making me feel at ease of my decision.

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!

 

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