What is Venous Thromboembolism?
Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a term which encompasses both Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE). You will have probably heard of DVT, which is where a blood clot forms in a deep vein, such as in the calf. In some cases, the clot can travel up toward the heart or lungs, and this is commonly known as a pulmonary embolism (PE).
Warfarin is an anticoagulant drug that has been proven to reduce the risk of blood clotting. If you have experienced VTE it is likely that your doctor will prescribe long-term warfarin treatment to manage your International Normalised Ratio (INR).
You will need to have regular INR tests, which usually take place at a hospital or GP surgery. This can mean regular time away from work or whatever else you’d rather be doing with your life. A possible alternative is to self-monitor your INR levels, providing you are able to do so and there is appropriate healthcare support in place.
Self-monitoring frees you from regular trips to your GP or hospital. This saves you from the inconvenience and expense of travelling to appointments, and means you won’t have to wait for tests.
Self-monitoring is the collective term used to describe both self-testing and self-monitoring. Self-testing is when you test a small drop of blood from your finger with the CoaguChek® XS meter, and then tell your healthcare professional your results so that they can advise you and adjust your warfarin dose accordingly. Self-management is when your healthcare professional has given you training so that you can adjust your own warfarin dose after testing with the CoaguChek® XS meter.
While many people find self-monitoring more convenient, it isn’t for everyone. You will need to get a better understanding of your treatment, and commit to sticking to the plan you make with your healthcare professional.
There’s no upper age limit for self-monitoring, although there are some minimum requirements. To be eligible you must:
- Be prescribed long-term warfarin
- Want to be more active in looking after your own health
- Have reasonable eyesight and dexterity
You can buy meters and test strips online, or you can call our free Careline on 0808 100 7666. Different payment options may be available to you, including a VAT-free price for those already taking long-term warfarin, and an interest-free payment plan to help spread the cost.
You will need CoaguChek® test strips to use your meter. These are available on prescription at your GP’s discretion, and prescription charges may apply. As with any decision about your health, it’s best to explore your options with your healthcare professional before self-monitoring.