There are many reasons you may have to take anticoagulants, also known as "blood thinners"
- Atrial fibrillation or flutter
- Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) and/or pulmonary embolism
- Heart valve replacement
- Other clotting disorders
Currently there are two major types of oral “blood thinners”
- Coumadin (or the generic equivalent drug, Warfarin)
- Novel Oral Anticoagulant” (NOAC) or also called “Direct Oral Anticoagulant” (DOAC), such as Pradaxa, Xarelto, Eliquis and Savaysa
The Austin Heart Anticoagulation Clinics (AHACs) provide comprehensive anticoagulation medication management, including managing and monitoring drug activity for our patients who take Coumadin or Warfarin. Our primary goal is to provide patients ongoing monitoring of their anticoagulation therapy to ensure desired outcomes and minimized adverse events.
Austin Heart Anticoagulation Clinics have 12 locations across central Texas area and is directed by Board-certified cardiologists. Each clinic is staffed by clinical personnel trained in anticoagulation management, with supervision by our clinical cardiologists.
What to Expect
- First visit: On your first visit to the Anticoagulation Clinic, our nurse will ask you about:
- Your health
- Your lifestyle such as eating habits and exercise
- Medical history
- Other medications you are taking
- Because many things affect the way anticoagulants work in your body, it is important that we know everything you take, both prescription and on-prescription medications as well as all “natural” or “herbal” vitamins or remedies
- We will perform a finger stick to get a few drops of blood, then test that blood to identify how long it takes to clot
- When you just start taking Coumadin, you may require frequent blood tests, usually once a week, until the correct dosage has been determined.
- After the dose has been regulated, tests will occur less frequently, although to ensure safety you must continue to have your blood tested every four weeks.
- The INR tests are by appointment only.
- Visits are quick, about 5-10 minutes.
- You will receive your test result immediately, and the nurse and physician uses these results to determine what dose of Coumadin you need to take and when to schedule your next INR test.
- You will receive a dosage calendar to follow until your next visit.
- You can discuss any anticoagulant-related questions you have with the nurse.
- For patients who are taking anticoagulants other than Coumadin or Warfarin, your management plan will be individualized based on your indication for anticoagulation and your other medical conditions.
- For patients who have surgeries or procedures planned, your management plan of anticoagulants will be adjusted based on your medical situation before and after the surgery.
- Patient education/counseling provided will always be individualized to meet the needs, preferences, and lifestyle of the patient. Family members and/or caretakers can also be present to help if needed.
What is INR testing?
The INR test stands for International Normalized Ratio. This is the test that the nurses in the Anticoagulation Clinic use to determine if your dose of Coumadin is in a safe range. The results of this test determine what dosage of Coumadin you should take.
Where do I have the test done?
Each Austin Heart Office has an anticoagulation Clinic. Some patients are candidates for home Coumadin monitoring and the results of these tests are also monitored by the Anticoagulation Clinic in your Austin Heart Office.
To schedule, reschedule or cancel an appointment for a finger stick test, please call the preferred Austin Heart location.