The number of heart attacks and strokes caused by blood clots could be reduced if patients were offered the chance to monitor themselves at home, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
Latest NICE guidance said that some people at a higher risk of developing blood clots could benefit from being given diagnostic tools to test themselves.
The institute has recommended that clinicains should provide some patients with atrial fibrillation or heart valve disease, who are thought to be at high risk of developing blood clots, with monitoring devices which help patients to assess themselves.
The devices – the Coaguchek XS system made by Roche Diagnostics and the InRatio2 PT/INR Monitor made by Alere – can tell a patient how quickly blood clots and can let them know if they need to adjust their anti-blood clotting medication, such as warfarin.
Patients can either self test, where they monitor themselves and contact a health worker with the results who will advise on whether or not they need to change their dose, or self manage – where patients test themselves and then adjust their medication according to pre-agreed care protocol.
“Greater use of self-monitoring offers clinical and patient benefit”
“The evidence shows that greater use of self-monitoring offers clinical and patient benefit and, over time, is likely to result in reductions in heart attacks and strokes caused by blood clots,” said Professor Carole Longson, director of the Health Technology Evaluation Centre at NICE.
“The time and cost of attending an anticoagulation clinic can be a significant burden for people on long-term oral anticoagulation therapy and can significantly affect both their working and family life,” she said.
“Because self-monitoring provides almost instant results, self-monitoring can reduce anxiety, provide a sense of control for the patient and remove the need to frequently attend clinics or hospitals,” she added.