Nurses could help patients prescribed blood-thinning medicine significantly reduce their risk of developing blood clots by teaching them how to monitor and manage their treatment themselves.
A study published in the online version of The Lancet revealed that patients could safely monitor and manage their treatment to halve their risk of suffering from deep vein thrombosis, stroke or heart attack.
The researchers also concluded that patients of all ages could safely self medicate and monitor their blood without the need for intervention by doctors and other healthcare experts.
Maureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “These results are certainly encouraging because they suggest suitable patients can self-monitor their medicine effectively, with appropriate support from a healthcare professional.”
People with atrial fibrillation, artificial heart valves or those who have suffered from blood clots in the past are often prescribed blood-thinning medicine, and need to regularly monitor and appropriately adjust their doses to ensure that their blood does not become too thick or too thin.
- Heneghan C, et al. Self-monitoring of oral anticoagulation: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual patient data. The Lancet 2011; Advance online publication.