The Use of Coumadin and Other Blood Thinners for Heart Disease
Coumadin is a blood thinner or anticoagulant medication that is designed to prevent clotting in the blood. Also known as Warfarin, this medication is often used to treat many types of heart disease.
Patients are prescribed Coumadin by their Phoenix cardiologists when they have been diagnosed with blood clots or have a health condition known to cause blood clotting. Patients with irregular heartbeats and pulmonary embolism are often prescribed this medication.
Unwanted blood clots can be extremely dangerous to a person’s health. They can dislodge and travel through the blood stream. Blood clots that are loose can lodge into the lungs, causing serious medical conditions.
Who Can Benefit from Coumadin?
There are several medical conditions that warrant the use of Coumadin. The most common is for individuals with deep venous thrombosis, or blood clots in the veins of the legs or other areas of the body. Other conditions may include:
- A person with a type of artificial heart valve.
- A person with an irregular heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillation.
- A person with a history of minor strokes or TIAs (Transient Ischemic Attacks).
- A person who has suffered from a prior heart attack.
- A person with blocked arteries
- A person who has undergone orthopedic surgery, generally of the knee or hip within the previous few weeks.
- A person with abnormal disorders that affect clotting.
How Does Coumadin Work?
What is a Coumadin Check?
Blood levels should be checked as directed by your Arizona cardiologist. Standard protocol for a Coumadin check is once per month, however, your doctor will decide how often your blood should be checked. Your cardiologist in Phoenix or Mesa should closely monitor Coumadin levels.
When you first start taking Coumadin, your doctor may require that you be tested two to three times per week. Since there is no standard dose, it is often changed based upon a blood test known as INR. An INR test determines how long it takes for your blood to clot. Once the INR and dose become constant you may not require blood tests as often. In most cases, once per month is ample for a Coumadin check.
It is important that all precautions be adhered to before taking Coumadin. The proper dose should be taken daily as directed. There are a variety of side effects that should be watched for because bleeding can occur. Call your AZ cardiologist immediately if you notice any signs of bleeding or experience unusual pain.
AZ Heart Doctor offers premier cardiology services for the greater Phoenix, Mesa & Tempe areas. Dr. Batres is a Board Certified noninterventional heart doctor who treats his patients with skill, compassion and individual consideration. Most insurances are accepted at the practice, call 480.300.4646 for more information and scheduling.