Anticoagulation with blood thinners is recommended for the management of several disorders and conditions, including: deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, atrial fibrillation, prosthetic heart valves and the prevention of some strokes. Typically, warfarin (Coumadin) and heparin are the medications used to thin the blood. Blood must be thinned enough to reduce the risk of developing clots and their complications, but not so much that there is an excess risk of bleeding. Warfarin, an oral blood thinner, has a very narrow therapeutic index, meaning that too much or too little can lead to serious consequences. As a result, this medication requires precise management, including periodic blood testing. Complications of oral anticoagulants are influenced by the patient's age, diet and additional prescription medications.
If therapeutic intensity is not well maintained, patients' individual circumstances are not adequately considered, or if communication between the provider and the laboratory is flawed, there is a high possibility of an adverse outcome, such as major bleeding or thromboembolism – a blood vessel blockage caused by a particle breaking away from the site of a blood clot. Due to this high benefit to risk ratio, many providers are reluctant to prescribe oral anticoagulants, even when there are good indications of their likely effectiveness. Careful management of anticoagulation by anticoagulation clinics has been shown to improve patient safety by reducing serious complications such as thrombosis, bleeding complications and even death.
Lahey's state-of-the-art Anticoagulation Clinic, one of the largest and oldest in New England, is staffed by physicians and nurses with specialized expertise in the management of anticoagulation. Once a patient has been referred to the Anticoagulation Clinic, professionals in the Clinic work with his or her primary care physician to:
The Anticoagulation Clinic has moved all outpatient services to 31 Mall Road, first floor.
Driving Directions For more information, please ask your physician about the program, or have them call 781-744-8607.