A 3-Minute Guide to INR Machines
Individuals on oral anticoagulation therapy understand the importance of monitoring their prothrombin time/international normalized ratio (PT/INR) frequently. This frequent monitoring allows one to adjust their medication dosage, keeping their PT/INR ratio in target range and therefore lowering the risk of having complications such as bleeding or clots. However, frequent monitoring to patients might mean that they would have to frequently visit the clinic but now this is no longer the case. INR machines can be obtained from an (IDTF) Independent Diagnostic Testing Facilty by patients who prefer to self test, and these INR machines simply require the patient to have the necessary training and compliance in order for them to be fully utilized. Self testing patients have been able to note that the machines represent improved outcomes and also provide greater convenience. However, before starting on home testing there are certain requirements that must be met before a physician prescribes the use of the machine at home. They include:
The patient must be anticoagulated for at least 3 months prior to the use of the INR machine
The patient must be on life long Coumadin therapy
Undergoing a FDA and Medicare required educational program on meter use and test result reporting instructions should be done by the patient in order to ensure that the patient can correctly use the device.
So how does the INR machine work?
If testing at the clinic, a small drop of blood from your finger is transferred onto the point of care instrument device and the result is available after a few minutes. The physician is therefore able to inform you of the results making anticoagulation management not only faster but also offers efficient communication with patients. If home testing, it is advisable that the patient informs their physician of the outcome of the result in order to receive further instructions on what is required of them. However, in some European countries INR self management is offered whereby the patient is able to not only self test but also they can be able to adjust their own dosage. Healthcare systems in the US and Canada have not yet seen wide promotion of this method however.
Do INR home machines give reliable INRs?
This query has lingered throughout the inception of self testing and the answer is a resounding yes. INR values obtained by these machines are reproducible and correlate perfectly with determinations obtained from a laboratory in a clinic.
How to obtain a device
If you are interested in having this device for home testing, one has to first contact their anticoagulation provider since they are supposed to write a prescription for it. There are both physical and online stores that provide the devices at affordable prices. In addition, it is important that the device purchased is FDA approved.
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