Anticoagulation management is the use of medications to prevent the blood from forming clots – especially among patients who suffer from circulatory conditions or who are diagnosed as at-risk for thrombosis. Often referred to as ‘blood thinners,’ these medications do not actually thin the blood, but rather prevent it from clotting. Cardiologists who place patients on anticoagulants must carefully monitor the therapy to minimize the risk of serious complications, as well as optimize the long-term effects of the medications. Depending on the patient’s needs and risks, anticoagulation therapy may be performed on an inpatient or outpatient basis.
Did you know?
that anticoagulation therapy is an effective way of managing many types of cardiovascular disease? In fact, anticoagulants have been responsible for helping many patients avoid life-threatening events, such as heart attacks and strokes. The two most commonly used anticoagulants are warfarin and heparin, which are often prescribed simultaneously with a daily aspirin regimen.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I a candidate for anticoagulation management?
You may be a candidate for anticoagulation management if you have been diagnosed as at-risk for the formation of blood clots, or if you have existing clots in your arteries or veins. Your cardiologist may also prescribe anticoagulation management if you suffer from congenital heart defects, abnormal heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation), or have undergone heart valve surgery.
What should I expect during anticoagulation management?
Anticoagulants are usually administered orally. However, you may need to see your doctor frequently to measure the drug’s efficacy and adjust your dosage accordingly. Usually, this means undergoing periodic blood tests. However, it is important to inform your doctor if you begin experiencing faintness, dizziness, bleeding gums, red or black stools, red or brown urine, or a severe headache or stomach pain that will not subside.
Will I need to follow any special instructions while taking anticoagulant medications?
It is of utmost importance that you take anticoagulants exactly as instructed by your cardiologist. It is also important to attend follow-up appointments and inform all other physicians if you are taking anticoagulants and/or aspirin, as these medications can interfere with surgical procedures and other medications or supplements. As a precaution, you’ll also need to carry a medical ID card that indicates your anticoagulant therapy. Lastly, you’ll need to consult with your doctor before starting any new medication or supplement, including the most common ones, such as antibiotics, cough medicine and even daily vitamins.