A blood clot is a clump of blood that has formed inside the body. Blood clots serve as an important process, preventing excessive bleeding when a blood vessel is injured. However, some blood clots do not dissolve on their own, blocking blood flow to important areas of the body, which can be harmful or even deadly.
Anticoagulation management is a type of therapy recommended for preventing, treating and reducing the recurrence of blood clots or preventing stroke in people with atrial fibrillation. Anticoagulants, also known as blood thinners, are medications that prevent blood clots from forming or keeping existing blood clots from getting larger.
When Are Anticoagulants Used?
If a patient has already had a blood clot, anticoagulants are used to prevent the clot from becoming larger. Anticoagulants are also used if a patient is at a high risk of having a blood clot. Risk factors for a blood clot include:
Mechanical heart valve
Infection of the inside of the heart
Certain blood disorders
Taking anticoagulation medication requires close monitoring. Having too much of the medication can lead to severe bleeding, while too little of the medication raises the risk of developing blood clots.
Anticoagulation management involves monitoring the patients’ lab results to choose the most appropriate dosage to ensure safe and effective use. Anticoagulation management also involves patient education and working with patients to develop a medication routine.