An evaluation of an anticoagulant clinic.
Colwell N., O'Neill T., Tyrrell J., Robinson K., Clarke R., Graham I.
Patient comprehension of the risks of anticoagulation, tablet recognition skills and knowledge of complications of warfarin therapy were evaluated in 160 patients attending the anticoagulant clinic in a central Dublin teaching hospital group. Potential complications from over- and under- dosage with warfarin were unknown to 119 (74%) and 97 (60%) patients respectively. 1, 3 and 5 mg tablets could not be identified by 40 (25%), 55 (34%) and 60 (37%) patients respectively. The current prescribed dose could not be recollected by 31 (19%) patients. Haemorrhagic complications occurred in 23 (14%) subjects over one year, four of whom required hospital admission and two blood transfusions. No thromboembolic episodes were noted. This study reveals a widespread lack of understanding of anticoagulation and its potential complications in patients receiving warfarin therapy and has led to a critical reappraisal of patient education, patterns of referral and supervision of such individuals in our clinic.