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Thromb Res. 2004;113(1):35-40.

Quality assurance program for whole blood prothrombin time-international normalized ratio point-of-care monitors used for patient self-testing to control oral anticoagulation.

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Angelo Bianchi Bonomi Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center, Department of Internal Medicine, University and IRCCS Maggiore Hospital, Via Pace 9, 20122 Milan, Italy.


Whole blood coagulation monitors are increasingly used for patient self-testing to control oral anticoagulation, but there are no comprehensive quality assurance (QA) programs to check their performance. We report on the experience with one of such programs applied in a field study where patients on prothrombin time (PT)-international normalized ratio (INR) self-testing were asked to bring their monitors to the anticoagulation clinic for checking. PT-INR testing was performed three times over 3 months with 14 patient's monitors and test strips on three recalcified QA plasmas by an experienced laboratory operator. Each patient was also asked to perform PT-INR self-testing (his/her own capillary blood) which was then compared to the laboratory PT-INR (plasma). Overall, the comparison between the observed and the consensus PT-INR on QA plasmas was acceptable with the majority of measurements lying within +/-15% or 20% of the consensus values. The comparison between the PT-INR self-testing and the laboratory method was also acceptable: overall, there was no statistical significant difference between the mean PT-INR values and the majority of paired measurements were less than 15% or 20% apart. In conclusion, our results show that the proposed QA scheme is feasible and may be implemented on a larger scale. Monitors should be recalled periodically to the clinic where they have been prescribed to the patient. During each visit, the clinic may check the monitors and patient self-testing performance as described. Such comprehensive QA system would make monitoring of oral anticoagulant treatment by self-testing safer and more effective.

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