If you or a loved one is currently taking, or considering taking, a blood-thinning medication like Coumadin, it is important to understand the importance of INR testing. While on an anticoagulant, one must regularly test their blood with a PT-INR test. PT stands for prothrombin time and measures the time it takes for your blood to clot. Traditionally, this test would be performed by taking a blood sample and sending it to a lab where the measure how quickly the blood clots. The labs use substances called reagents to make the blood clot. Because different labs use different reagents, there is a standardized unit to compare different reagents. The International Normalized Ratio, INR, serves to provide standardized results for all PR tests.
Normal people who are not taking blood-thinning medication and have normally clotting blood should have an INR of about 1. The higher your INR measures, the longer it takes your blood to clot. It is important to constantly keep track of your INR if you have troubles with blood clotting because if your INR is too high, the likelihood of bleeding events increases. Conversely, if your INR is too low, you run the risk of blood clots.
The traditional way to test INR is time consuming and inefficient. Luckily, there is another option. Many people who take anticoagulants opt to test their own blood at home. These devices use test strips to take a small sample of blood with a painless prick of the patient’s finger. The drop of blood is then fed into the meter and provides results within minutes.
One of the best tools to test your blood is the CoaguChek XS meter with accompanying test strips. After proper training, home testing devices save the patient time and money while allowing them to easily monitor their INR level. The CoaguChek XS meter comes is a compact, battery-powered device that allows you to test your blood on the go. Patients can monitor changes in the INR from day-to-day with the CoaguChek meter’s memory of up to 300 tests. This state of the art device is now offered through Advanced Cardio Services at a discounted price at Expressmed.com. We also offer CoaguChek XS test strips in a 6 count box at Expressmed.com.