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Haematologica. 2001 Oct;86(10):1060-70.

Effect of computer-aided management on the quality of treatment in anticoagulated patients: a prospective, randomized, multicenter trial of APROAT (Automated PRogram for Oral Anticoagulant Treatment).

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  • 1Centro Malattie Emostatiche, Azienda Ospedaliera di Parma, Via Gramsci, 16, I-43100, Parma, Italy.



We carried out a prospective, randomized trial to test whether a computer-based decision support system to initiate and maintain oral anticoagulant (OA) treatment can improve the laboratory quality of therapy.


Two separate sets of patients on oral anticoagulants, in five Italian anticoagulant clinics, were studied: 335 patients in the first three months of treatment (stabilization phase), 916 patients (775 patient-years) beyond the third month of treatment (maintenance phase). Patients were randomized to a computerized system, which included algorithms able to suggest OA dosing and to schedule appointments (computer-aided dosing) or to an arm in which OA were prescribed by the same teams of expert physicians without such algorithms (control group). Primary outcomes were: A) the percentage of patients reaching a stable state of anticoagulation during each of the first three months of treatment; B) the percentage of time individuals spent within the aimed therapeutic range (maintenance phase).


Patients in the computer-aided dosing group achieved a stable state significantly faster (p<0.01) and they spent more time within the therapeutic range during maintenance (p<0.001) than controls. The favorable effect of computer-aided dosing was mainly due to a reduction of the time spent below the therapeutic range and was associated with an increase of mean INR value, of anticoagulant drug dosage, and with a reduction of the number of appointments per patient (all changes significant: p<0.001).


The computer decision-aided support improves the laboratory quality of anticoagulant treatment, both during long-term maintenance and in the early, highly unstable phase of treatment, and it also significantly reduces the number of scheduled laboratory controls.

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