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For warfarin users: home testing?

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  • For warfarin users: home testing?

    Does anyone have any experience with the INR home testing devices? I hear mixed reviews about them. I would love to be able to do my own testing...
    Life is a banquet...and I got botulism! -- Me

    If time flies when you're having fun, will I age faster at Disneyland? -- Joel Perry

  • #2
    Hear, hear! I too would love to be able to test things at home.
    Leon
    God Squad co-moderator
    Nothing is as gentle as strength and nothing is as strong as gentleness

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    • #3
      for warfin users: home testing

      Hi, I have a cuagucheck machine at home for my daughter. We used it every month for about 3 years. My daughter's INR kept going lower and lower everytime, so we went to the lab for a draw. Found out our INR machine was not reading correctly. We haven't used it since for two reasons. First this company doesn't sell to private parties anymore and second I didn't trust the results anymore. I think it was more important to have results I could trust than home monitoring. There is another company that sells to private parties, but they are very expensive ($2000 or so). My insurance doesn't cover them.

      Hope this helps.
      Michelle - mom to Krista and Tyler both HCM
      Krista surgeries: 3/97 myectomy, 2/99 mitral valve replacement
      Tyler surgery: 1/98 myectomy

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      • #4
        I home test successfully

        I've had this device (http://www.shopqas.com/ProductCart/p...sp?idproduct=2) for several years now and have never had a problem.

        When I first got it, they train you over the phone really well and then you have to take the device to the doctor's office and you show them you can test yourself and the doctor signs a form you send to QAS so they will continue to sell you test strips. You also cross check the results with the doctor's office results to calibrate the machine.

        My insurance covered part of it under "durable medical equipment."

        I also recommend cross-checking your results with the doctor's office every year. No two machines will ever be identical, but they should be close.

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        • #5
          Yea, it's a hassle, going to the Coumadin Clinic for my INR, but my concern would be; the proper calibration of the machine & correcting the coumadin doeage, when you are not in the right range. My levels bounce around from time to time (they think it's from my thyroid ) so my dosage is changed every other week. I guess if my levels were stable, at home would be more of a consideration.
          Last Monday, my levels shot up to 3.9 (I had stopped & started my coumadin, due to a Heart Cath, the week before)-so she quickly adjusted my dosage, but not soon enough, I had hours long nose bleeds both Tuesday & Weds-then my levels must have come down, because they stopped abruptly.
          This Coumadin can be a very scary Med!
          RONNIE

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          • #6
            home testing

            I would think home testing would be better for you since you could test every week (or every day!) and if you were not in range, simply call the doctor and get your dose ajusted over the phone.

            You can also buy Coumadin dose calculation software off of the web for $20 or $30, but I don't recommend that as a rule. It would be fun to see how it compares to what the doctor orders, though.

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            • #7
              Re: home testing

              Originally posted by Sarah
              I would think home testing would be better for you since you could test every week (or every day!) and if you were not in range, simply call the doctor and get your dose ajusted over the phone.
              My main reason for wanting to do the home test is because I'm concerned about developing too much scar tissue at the bends of my elbows. When I had an MRI last week, the technician who put in my IV noticed that I was developing it, and I've only been taking warfarin since 11/03. The MHI doctors say that I'm "locked into this drug for life" (and that's a direct quote), and I want to explore other options for testing.

              There's also the issue of convenience. When we first moved to MN, the cardiologist I see had me come in to the Anticoagulant Clinic, which meant I had to take time off work once a month and drive clear over to Minneapolis just for a 5-minute appointment. I have since switched to getting my INR at the clinic in my town; the only difference is that they do the standard venal puncture there, and the Anticoagulant Clinic uses a finger-stick.
              Life is a banquet...and I got botulism! -- Me

              If time flies when you're having fun, will I age faster at Disneyland? -- Joel Perry

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Ronnie
                Yea, it's a hassle, going to the Coumadin Clinic for my INR, but my concern would be; the proper calibration of the machine & correcting the coumadin doeage, when you are not in the right range. My levels bounce around from time to time (they think it's from my thyroid ) so my dosage is changed every other week.

                This Coumadin can be a very scary Med!
                I tell ya, I'm already tired of taking the drug, but I know I have to do it.

                I think I would be a good candidate for home testing, though. When I first started taking warfarin in 11/03, it took about 3 weeks to get to a consistent level, and I'd been stable up until about 2 weeks ago when I started amiodarone. That shot up my INR to 3.9.
                Life is a banquet...and I got botulism! -- Me

                If time flies when you're having fun, will I age faster at Disneyland? -- Joel Perry

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                • #9
                  Blue Devil
                  Constant Venal puncture, will definitely cause scar tissue. After 2 extended stays in the hospital, the techs told me my veins were "cement"!
                  It took almost a year, with only a few entries into my arm, for it to clear up (somewhat)-I'm still a very touch "stick". Fortunately my INR Clinic does a finger stick.
                  RONNIE

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                  • #10
                    Hey Guys,
                    I’ve been having blood tests at least once a month – often more, and sometimes weekly – since June 1985, and now that they put in the fistula, they always hit the other arm – (which was always their favorite target anyway.)

                    There is some scar tissue formed of course, but it is not a problem – and I don’t expect it to become one. I wonder what they do with patients who scar a lot, or for that matter, those with small arteries. There must be an alternate method. Maybe that finger stick is the answer after all. Either that, or using a butterfly in the forearm (I’ve had that too.)

                    When adjusting my insulin I do finger sticks four times a day (both sides of each finger in rotation) and I take insulin shots four times a day also. Is this what they mean when they say somebody is becoming holy?
                    Burt

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                    • #11
                      life sentance

                      While we will be on blood thinners for life, it may not be coumadin. They are researching less risky drugs that don't need monitoring, so this all may become moot someday.

                      Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday...

                      S

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                      • #12
                        Burt-
                        How are you feeling (besides with your hands) these days?
                        Some people are more prone to scaring than others, I would be one of them. As a result of scaring, from my Myectomy I had a double bypass & then, from the bypass 2 stents placed. All the Docs concur that my blockages were caused by scaring, so obviously my arms are a mess! I dread every time I need blood work, it can become very traumatic. Other than IV insertion, I always request a buttefly.
                        RONNIE

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                        • #13
                          All I can say is it must be nice to not have trouble getting blood. Too me everytime is an excruciating painful experience. And no they don't usually do alternatives to getting your blood. They just keep poking my record was thirteen times. If you are being admitted they will use a PICC line or a central line but those are considered invasive. My doctor yesterday was hesitant to send me to the ER because she said " everytime you go your veins are crucified and are useless for months." And yes she was right four times for an IV that would not return blood another two times to draw the blood. I'm actually to the point that I tell them to go in the neck because that is all that is left and not as painful as in the wrist. And a word of advice it they ever tell you they have to try the Femoral. RUN AWAY it is one of the most painful experiences I have ever had. Let's put it this way imagine a cath being done without anesthetic.

                          Just my experiences with needles and IVs

                          Mary S.

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