While some people have strong feelings about the risks of anticoagulants, warfarin (an anticoagulation medication) is one of the most frequently prescribed drugs in the U.S., with more than 25 million prescriptions dispensed annually in 2010.3 Studies have shown that anticoagulation can be managed safely for patients of all ages. In fact, they perform well in selected older patients with no increased risk of bleeding or thromboembolism.4
New medications are also being introduced. A significant percentage of patients undergoing mitral valve surgery also have atrial fibrillation (AF), which requires patients to be on anticoagulation medication.5 Fortunately, St. Jude Medical™ mechanical heart valves have been studied for over 25 years and consistently demonstrate low anticoagulant-related complications.6,7
Complications may also be reduced through patient self-testing. A randomized study showed a reduced complication with international normalized ratio (INR) self-management when compared to conventional management in the clinic.8 INR is a blood test that measures the time it takes for blood to clot and compares it to an average.
St. Jude Medical is a strong supporter of patient self-testing and works with Alere and HemoSense to provide patient self-testing services. Visit Alere or hemosense.com to learn more.
Learn more about anticoagulation medication.