A new service at Swedish Covenant Hospital seeks to combat the problem of medication misuse. Led by a team of experienced medical professionals, the hospital’s Anticoagulation Clinic is a collaborative effort between pharmacists, physicians, nurses and other members of a patient’s care team that focuses on the safe use of one high-risk drug.
The clinic, which opened in early 2013, allows pharmacists to monitor and track patients’ progress on Coumadin (warfarin), a blood thinning medication, or anticoagulant, used to stop the formation of blood clots. Anticoagulation refers to a process of monitoring the use of anticoagulants to ensure that they are taken correctly and safely.
Coumadin is primarily used to prevent a condition called thrombosis—the formation of blood clots within a patient’s blood vessels. It is a vital medication for some, since blood clots can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Your doctor may prescribe Coumadin if you have had a heart valve replacement, a recent heart attack or a heart rhythm condition called atrial fibrillation, since these conditions raise your risk of developing blood clots.
Coumadin helps reduce your risk of developing blood clots by removing certain proteins to “thin” out the blood, allowing it to flow smoothly through your body. As important as they are, blood thinning drugs are considered high-risk because they can lead to severe side effects. If the blood becomes too thin, your risk for excessive bleeding goes up. It is advised that people taking Coumadin do not engage in contact sports or other activities that may lead to bleeding.
Like all medications, it is important that you only take Coumadin under the direction of an experienced medical professional.
The new Anticoagulation Clinic at Swedish Covenant Hospital provides a streamlined, convenient way for patients to have their medication use managed by a collaborative team of experts. It is locatedin the Foster Medical Pavilion at 5215 North California Avenue, Suite F-103
Your primary care physician will refer you to the clinic based on your health history and medication use.
Once you arrive, a pharmacist will check the thinness of your blood using a quick finger stick test—results generally come back in less than a minute. The pharmacist will also schedule regular visits for the duration of your time on Coumadin.