Dangerous blood clots can occur in our arteries or veins. The arteries transfer oxygenated and nutrient-rich blood from the heart to other parts of our body. Veins, on the other hand, move deoxygenated blood for our body’s organs back to the heart. If a blood clot forms in a vein, it can prevent the return of blood to the heart, which can cause pain and swelling because blood collects behind it. Deep vein thrombosis is a clot in a major vein of our legs or arms. If left untreated, it can grow or break off and cause a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in the lung, which is a life-threatening condition.
When our heart is working normally, it pumps blood in a regular rhythm due to the electrical signals generated in it. If you have atrial fibrillation, the rhythm becomes irregular because the electrical signals are disorganised. Then the upper chambers of your heart, also known as atria, beat chaotically and impair its ability to pump blood efficiently. In cases like this, the blood can pool in your heart and form a blood clot, which can lead to a clot-provoked stroke.
Being diagnosed with a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE) or learning that you’re at risk for a blood clot due to atrial fibrillation or another risk factor, can be a frightening and overwhelming experience. Everyone’s experience is unique, so all people affected by blood clots should work closely with their healthcare provider to develop a treatment plan that meets their needs. However, despite their differences, most people with a clotting risk use the same machine to control their condition – an INR machine. Read on to find out why it’s important to get a reliable INR testing machine and use it properly.
Prevention Is Important: INR Testing Machine
Anticoagulation medications play a vital role in the prevention and treatment of blood clots. Warfarin is a prescription anticoagulation medication that’s been used for more than 50 years now. It prevents blood clots from forming or growing larger by blocking the formation of Vitamin K dependent clotting factors. But due to different factors, such as weight, diet, genetics, other illnesses or interactions with other medications, different people may respond differently to warfarin therapy. For that reason, specific dosing and monitoring is required for each patient.
Patients prescribed warfarin must have their blood monitored regularly to confirm that the dose they take is in a safe and effective range. Careful and regular INR (International Normalised Ratio) testing can help your healthcare provider monitor and adjust the warfarin dosage to ensure prevention against the risk of clotting when the INR is too low, or balance the risk of excessive bleeding when it’s too high. An INR testing machine allows to monitor blood thickness quickly, easily and safely.
CoaguChek monitor is a hand-held device that’s used to measure the INR in people taking warfarin. It’s an INR testing machine available for personal, as well as professional and surgical use. It has four alkali-manganese AAA batteries or a power supply unit and a carry case, as well as a lancing device, lancets and CoaguChek strips. CoaguChek INRange system has Bluetooth technology, so you can easily send your PT/INR results to your healthcare provider using Bluetooth or USB.
In the past few years, there has been a huge development in the INR machines. They have enabled clinicians and practitioners to conduct tests on-site and helped people who benefit from regular testing to conduct home INR testing and carry the INR machine wherever they may go.
How to Use Your INR Machine at Home
If you’re using the device for the first time, make sure to set the exact date and time. In case the batteries are removed or replaced, when you insert them again, check if the date and time are correct and reset if needed. The CoaguChek device is simple and easy to use and comes with a user manual that can help you with all you need to know about the device and the operating instructions.
Before measuring, prepare the materials you need such as CoaguChek test strips and code chip. Once you have it all set, you’re ready to obtain a blood sample by finger pricking. Remember that a new lancet should be inserted for every use. Turn the device on and it will automatically check its display properties and show a range of symbols on the screen.
It’s important to always wash your hands before using the device and dry them and your fingertips thoroughly. Once the testing is done, dispose of the test strip and the lancing device with other household waste and turn the meter off. If it’s dirty, you can wipe it with an approved cleaner.
Send the results to your healthcare provider, so they can give you all the information on the range of INR values and advise you what to do if your result is outside of the range. Keep in mind that diet changes, certain illness or medications can affect your INR, so make sure to always inform your healthcare provider what you’re taking and monitor your INR more often if necessary.