The Prothrombin (PT/INR) tests are done to evaluate blood clotting. This is necessary for people who are taking the blood thinning medication WARFARIN or COUMADIN. They are often required to monitor their INR level and report to their Health care providers according to their health conditions.
This usually involves visiting a doctor’s office or a lab on a regular basis to have a blood test. However, there is another more convenient option to test your blood by using a PATIENT SELF TESTING KIT at home. It is a very easy monitor to use, as shown below.
1. First you should familiarize yourself with the monitor and read very carefully all operating instructions.
2. Keep all materials in front of you including all the materials provided in the kit such as Meter, test strips etc.
3. Switch ON your Monitor. It will state: READY INSERT STRIP. Then; insert a test strip into the device.
4. The monitor will warm up the strip to room temperature and check the bar-code on the strip. This takes a few seconds.
5. Then the monitor will start counting down backwards from 20 to zero. After the monitor finishes counting down backwards it will beep and a GREEN light will appear on the strip and the monitor will state APPLY SAMPLE.
6. Now you are ready to prick the side of the fingertip (Always AFTER the green light appears – NOT BEFORE).
7. Next; collect the blood sample by using the transfer tube. Make sure the blood fills up to the white dot in the tube – to ensure an adequate sample.
8. Then; apply the blood on the targeted area of the test strip (blinking GREEN Light). This is accomplished by pressing on the black plunger on the transfer tube.
9. The monitor will state TESTING PLEASE WAIT and in less than a minute both the PT and INR test results will appear.
10. Call in your test result via the toll free phone number or enter results via the WEB site.
11. Dispose of the test strip, switch off your monitor and pack it away. It’s that simple!
WHAT TIPS SHOULD BE GIVEN TO PATIENTS WHO USE A PT/INR MACHINE AT HOME
- Insurance will only pay for ONE test per week.
- Patients must be anticoagulated (on Warfarin or Coumadin) for at least 3 months before insurance will start covering use of the home monitor.
- Patients must make themselves available for an educational program regarding anticoagulation management and demonstrate their ability to use the monitor correctly.
- Before pricking the finger to get a blood sample make sure that the hand is clean and dry.
- If the finger is cold, it may be difficult to get blood. Warm the finger in running warm water and/or massaging the hand/finger. Squeezing the finger also increases the flow of blood.
- If the amount of blood is insufficient, restart the test procedure and use a different finger to get a sample.
- If you are a WARFARIN or COUMADIN user and experience unusual symptoms such as unexpected bleeding, blood in urine, shortness of breath etc.; contact your physician.