Anticoagulation (Coumadin) Clinic


Warfarin (Coumadin®) is used to "thin" the blood in a variety of cardiac conditions including atrial fibrillation and prosthetic valve replacement. Unlike aspirin and clopidogrel (Plavix®), the degree of anticoagulation is often quite variable and can change depending on the patient’s diet, concurrent medications and ongoing illnesses. This variability can lead to clot formation on or bleeding. In order to maintain a proper therapeutic balance, blood needs to be sampled routinely and adjustments in the dose of warfarin often need to be made.

Most Merrimack Valley Cardiology patients have their warfarin monitored through the Lowell General Hospital Anticoagulation Management Service, directed by Dr. Birkhead.  In order to make anticoagulation monitoring easier for our patients, we also have devices which monitor a patient's level of anticoagulation with a small needle prick of the finger tip. This device not only allows the patient to avoid an unnecessary blood draw out of a vein, but it also allows us to make any adjustment in coumadin (if necessary) before the patient leaves the office. This device can be a great convenience for patients who would otherwise have their blood drawn, and then must wait at home for a phone call to know whether or not any adjustment in their coumadin needs to be made.  

To find out more about the use of warfarin, click here and enter the word “warfarin” into the search field.

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