Anticoagulant Testing Options

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Once you begin taking anticoagulation medications to prevent blood clots from forming on your mechanical heart valve, you will need regular blood tests to determine if the medication is working.


Laboratory Testing

Your doctor will ask you to come to the office or go to a laboratory about once a month for the clotting-time tests, and your doctor will use the test results to determine whether to change your anticoagulant medication dosage. To maintain proper levels, take your medication as prescribed and follow up with blood tests as scheduled.

Self-testing at Home

Self-testing is a convenient alternative to laboratory testing and can help to minimize complications from warfarin therapy. With a self-testing service such as Alere Home INR Monitoring, you can check your own INR levels with a weekly finger-stick test. Visit alerecoag.com to learn more.

The results are communicated directly to your physician so INR levels can be closely monitored and dosage adjustments can be made during a brief phone call with your health care team. Self-testing is only available upon a doctor's prescription and it does not replace the need for regular follow-up visits with your doctor.

Last Reviewed: January 19, 2010 2506