Long-term treatment with warfarin is recommended for patients with atrial fibrillation at risk of stroke and those with recurrent venous thrombosis or prosthetic heart valves. Patient education before commencing warfarin - regarding signs and symptoms of bleeding, the impact of diet, potential drug interactions and the actions to take if a dose is missed - is pivotal to successful use. Scoring systems such as the CHADS2 score are used to determine if patients with atrial fibrillation are suitable for warfarin treatment. To rapidly achieve stable anticoagulation, use an age-adjusted protocol for starting warfarin. Regular monitoring of the anticoagulant effect is required. Evidence suggests that patients who self-monitor using point-of-care testing have better outcomes than other patients.
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- Point-of-care services