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Pathophysiol Haemost Thromb. 2002 May-Jun;32(3):99-106.

Self-management of oral anticoagulants with a whole blood prothrombin-time monitor in elderly patients with atrial fibrillation.

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  • 1Institute of Hematology, Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel.


The efficacy of oral anticoagulants (OAC) in reducing the incidence of stroke in elderly patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) has been well documented. The intensity of OAC therapy and deviations in the prothrombin time (PT) are the strongest risk factor for bleeding complications in elderly patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate a more rigorous regulation of OAC by the use of a portable whole blood PT-monitor (CoaguChek) in elderly patients with AF (age 65-80 years). The study group consisted of 20 patients, of whom 17 were evaluable, which were trained to use to CoaguChek monitor and adjust their anticoagulant dose for 12 months. The control group, 20 patients matched for age, gender and the duration of OAC treatment, were tested in an anticoagulant clinic and their OAC dose was adjusted by a physician. To validate the PT-monitor results, the patients performed a total of 129 simultaneous venous blood PT tests at various time points. The correlation coefficient R(2) was 0.707 indicating the accuracy of the CoaguChek results. The self-managed patients perform more frequent measurements 46 +/- 8.9 vs. 15.7 +/- 3.1 PT tests per patient. They demonstrated a within the therapeutic range INR in 80.5% of the tests (95% confidence interval, 76.5-84.1%) as compared to 72.4% (95% confidence interval, 68.5-76.5%) in the control group (p = 0.057). The median value for all CoaguChek International Normalized Ratio (INR) recordings was within therapeutic range in the self-management group as well as in the control group. There were fewer INR results below or above the therapeutic range in the study group. None of the patients had hemorrhagic or thrombotic events during the study. Overall, the study group expressed high satisfaction from using the home monitor. We conclude that home PT monitoring and self-management of OAC are feasible in a motivated population of elderly patients with atrial fibrillation and are probably cost effective.

Copyright 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel

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