We determine the prevalence of nontherapeutic and coagulopathic international normalized ratios (INRs) among patients receiving warfarin and presenting to an emergency department (ED). As a secondary goal, we aim to determine whether a simple decision aid composed of physical examination and historical features could be predictive of INR greater than 5.
This was a prospective, observational study at 2 associated urban academic centers from February 2003 through May 2004, using a convenience sample of patients identified by direct questioning and contemporaneous medical record review in the ED as receiving long-term warfarin therapy. Inclusion criteria were warfarin therapy and self-reported compliance. Patients were enrolled by trained researchers. The primary outcome measure was the percentage of patients within appropriate therapeutic range for their condition according to accepted national guidelines. Descriptive statistics were used, and multivariate regression analysis was performed to identify associations.
One thousand nineteen patients were enrolled. INR values were obtained in 77% (782/1019) of patients. Of these patients, 72% (95% confidence interval 67% to 76%) were outside the desired range. Values were less than 2 in 43% of patients and greater than 3 in 29% of patients. INR greater than 5 was present in 11% (86/782) of patients, and 40% (34/86) of these patients exhibited gross bleeding. Emergency therapy was administered in 12% (96/782) of patients: fresh frozen plasma in 7% of patients, heparin in 5% of patients. Intracranial hemorrhage was found in 12 patients, 5 with INR greater than 3. Ischemic stroke or venous thromboembolism occurred in 51 patients known to be receiving warfarin specifically for prevention of the event that occurred. Of these patients, 49% (25/51) had INR less than 2. Regression analysis indicated no sensitive or specific constellation of features, though 2 factors were associated with INR greater than 5: gross hemorrhage (P=.006) and increasing duration of therapy (P=.047).
The prevalence of undesirable INR in the ED is higher than in warfarin populations previously studied, and a significant number of nontherapeutic levels were associated with thromboembolism, stroke, or hemorrhage. Given the prevalence and established danger of subtherapeutic and supratherapeutic levels, a low threshold should be maintained for testing and addressing INR levels in patients receiving warfarin in the ED.
"Many patients admitted to the emergency department (ED) use anticoagulants, mostly vitamin K antagonists (VKA). Newman et al.  showed that the majority of patients in the ED using VKA had a sub- or supra-therapeutic international normalized ratio (INR). Chronic anticoagulation is associated with an increased risk of bleeding, which is related to the degree of anticoagulation, e.g., the height of the INR . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study's aims were to evaluate patient knowledge of safe warfarin practices early in treatment, and to pilot a nursing telephone follow-up enhancement to a pharmacy-facilitated discharge.
Forty-two randomized patients in either "enhanced follow-up" or "treatment as usual" groups completed the study.
Enhanced treatment resulted in significant improvement in warfarin knowledge (86% versus 71%). In critical safety related knowledge questions even larger improvements were present (∼96% compared to ∼77%).
The hypothesis that non-adherence generating rehospitalization is a function of poorer knowledge was not supported as there were no warfarin-related readmissions during the study.
The study supports the use of enhanced follow up and the need for larger studies to delineate what patient knowledge prevents rehospitalization and cost effective educational efforts.
Rehabilitation nursing: the official journal of the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses 03/2012; 37(2):80-7. DOI:10.1002/RNJ.00014 · 1.15 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Patients taking anticoagulants orally over the long term have international normalized ratios (INRs) outside the individual therapeutic range more than one-third of the time. Improved anticoagulation control will reduce hemorrhagic and thromboembolic event rates. To gauge the potential effect of improved anticoagulation control, we undertook to determine the proportion of anticoagulant-associated events that occur when INRs are outside the therapeutic range.
We conducted a meta-analysis of all studies that assigned hemorrhagic and thromboembolic events in patients taking anticoagulants to discrete INR ranges. We identified studies using the MEDLINE (1966-2006) and EMBASE (1980-2006) databases. We included studies reported in English if the majority of patients taking oral anticoagulants had an INR range with a lower limit between 1.8 and 2 and an upper limit between 3 and 3.5, and their INR at the time of the hemorrhagic or thromboembolic event was recorded.
The final analysis included results from 45 studies (23 that reported both hemorrhages and thromboemboli; 14 that reported hemorrhages only; and 8, thromboemboli only) involving a median of 208 patients (limits of interquartile range [25th-75th percentile] 131-523 subjects; total n = 71 065). Of these studies, 64% were conducted at community practices; the remainder, at anticoagulation clinics. About 69% of the studies were classed as having moderate or high quality. Overall, 44% (95% confidence interval [CI] 39%-49%) of hemorrhages occurred when INRs were above the therapeutic range, and 48% (95% CI 41%-55%) of thromboemboli took place when below it. The mean proportion of events that occurred while the patient's INR was outside the therapeutic range was greater for studies with a short mean follow-up (< 1 yr). Between-study heterogeneity was significant (p < 0.001).
Improved anticoagulation control could decrease the likelihood of almost half of all anticoagulant-associated adverse events.
Canadian Medical Association Journal 06/2007; 176(11):1589-94. DOI:10.1503/cmaj.061523 · 5.96 Impact Factor
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