Services

Anticoagulation Therapy Services at MDH

  1. What is Anticoagulation Therapy?
    Anticoagulation therapy is the use of medications to reduce the risk of blood clots. Inpatient education and the outpatient Anticoagulation Clinic (ACC) focus on the use of the oral medication warfarin (also known as Coumadin). Warfarin helps to prevent harmful blood clots from forming and lengthens the time it normally takes for blood to clot. Patients with certain conditions, such as atrial fibrillation, mechanical/artificial heart valves, stroke, previous deep vein thrombosis (DVT- blood clot in a vein), and pulmonary embolism (PE- blood clot in the lungs), may require the use of an anticoagulant.

  2. What services are provided at MDH?
    Inpatient Anticoagulation Therapy Education:
    The purpose of inpatient education is to introduce patients to warfarin (Coumadin) therapy by providing information on the medication’s mechanism of action, routine laboratory monitoring, side effects, drug/food interactions, and safety precautions.

    Outpatient Anticoagulation Clinic:
    The Anticoagulation Clinic was established at MDH in December, 2003. The purpose of the ACC is to provide safe, effective, and convenient management of warfarin (Coumadin) on an outpatient basis.

  3. How can I utilize the anticoagulation services at MDH?
    Inpatient Anticoagulation Therapy Education:
    A pharmacist or a registered nurse visits inpatients that are receiving warfarin (Coumadin) therapy. A referral by a physician may be made, but is not required.

    Outpatient Anticoagulation Clinic:
    Patients are referred to the clinic by a physician and are seen by a registered nurse with specific knowledge and certification in anticoagulation therapy. Interested individuals should contact his/her primary care physician for a referral.

    The ACC is located on the first floor in the Laboratory of MDH. For more information, the ACC can be reached at (309) 836-1659 or (309) 833- 4101, ext. 13267

  4. What can I expect when I visit the Anticoagulation Clinic?
    At each visit, the MDH Laboratory draws a blood sample for a Protime/INR (a blood test that measures how quickly blood clots). Results are available within 15 minutes, and then, if necessary, dosage changes are made. One to one clinic visits allow the nurse to assess compliance with the warfarin (Coumadin) regimen and to provide education on signs and symptoms of bleeding and clotting events, and diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes. Written instructions and printed materials are provided after each visit. Through continuous education, compliance is improved significantly, which aids in achieving and maintaining the patient’s therapeutic INR range.

  5. Who provides anticoagulation education at MDH?
    Donna Twomey, RN; Karen Bucholtz, RN, BSN; and Linda Dixon, RN. In addition, Dr. Curt Farr serves as Medical Director.