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Support Group for Mechanical & Artificial Heart Valve Surgery & Using Warfarin

Much to my amazement, the anti-coagulation clinic have agreed for me to do home testing. My INR has only been in range twice, but they say I am stable enough even though I have had some very low numbers, and was on clexane two weeks ago.

I didn't argue, but went home, set up my machine (well dh did) and put in one of my test strips. When the countdown started I pricked my finger, and no blood appeared. I tried massaging my finger, and when blood did appear, it was more than 15 seconds after I had pricked my finger, so was no good. I repeated this with a deeper lancet setting, and only managed to get a tiny smear of blood, which was not enough to get a reading. Eventually the timer countdown finished, and I had failed to get a reading.

After multiple finger pricking and three failed test strips I have booked an appointment with my practice nurse to see if she can help me. I really don't want to fail as a home tester. My anti-coagulation clinic is at a hospital where parking is very difficult and I am normally there an hour.

Also, my clinic have told me to test fortnightly, but I would prefer to test weekly. If I do test weekly and get out of range readings, would it be unreasonable to call them in anyway?

Did anyone else find getting a good sample of blood hard when they began home testing? A friend has suggested rubbing my hands warm before pricking my fingers. Any other tips?

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I don't feel more in control today.  I know my INR is low, but no-one from the clinic has called me back.  Actually, that is not true.  A health care assistant called me at lunch time, and promised me a warfarin nurse would call me after 3.  It is now nearly 5, and no call.  When I phoned the clinic, I got the answer phone.  Surely home testing only works if there is good communication between clinic and patient. 

Sorry, rant over.

olly sagar said:

I agree, don't despair! As have said before, the way Warfarin levels vary in all who take it is still a medical mystery! Everyone's different. The joy of the Coagucheck is that you are more in control and it's so much easier to keep an eye on things. Over time you'll find it gets less of an anxiety - honest!

Ok, time to eat a slice of humble pie.  The clinic did call back at 6pm and apologized for not returning my call yesterday.

Madeleine M said:
I don't feel more in control today.  I know my INR is low, but no-one from the clinic has called me back.  Actually, that is not true.  A health care assistant called me at lunch time, and promised me a warfarin nurse would call me after 3.  It is now nearly 5, and no call.  When I phoned the clinic, I got the answer phone.  Surely home testing only works if there is good communication between clinic and patient.  Sorry, rant over.

olly sagar said:

I agree, don't despair! As have said before, the way Warfarin levels vary in all who take it is still a medical mystery! Everyone's different. The joy of the Coagucheck is that you are more in control and it's so much easier to keep an eye on things. Over time you'll find it gets less of an anxiety - honest!

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