The Pen Bay Medical Center Anticoagulation Clinic was created primarily to assist primary care physicians in the management of their patients on long-term oral anti-coagulant therapy with warfarin (Coumadin).
To get to the PBMC Anticoagulation Clinic, patients should use the hospital's main entrance, walk past the main reception desk, turn right at the first hallway and turn left again at the next corridor. The unit is on the main floor and stairs/elevators are not needed for access.
The clinic's multi-disciplinary team includes registered nurses who have taken a certifying examination in anticoagulant therapy, a laboratory technician and an office support person.
The clinic is open
Monday through Friday
from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Warfarin is prescribed to prevent abnormal clotting (usually deep vein thrombosis), pulmonary embolism (blood clot to the lung) and stroke.
Warfarin therapy, however, can result in abnormal bleeding. The effectiveness of the medication in preventing clots can be maximized and the risk of bleeding minimized with the use of a periodic blood test called INR.
The INR is a measure of the anti-clotting effect from the warfarin. Having an INR in the therapeutic range reduces the risks of clotting and stroke as well as the risk of bleeding. The INR can change over time, even when there has been no change in the warfarin dosage.
Therefore, the INR must be monitored on a regular basis. In addition, the INR can be affected by other prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies and dietary factors.
The role of the Anticoagulation Clinic is to monitor the INR and adjust the dose of warfarin as needed. In addition, at the time of each visit, the patient’s prescription medications, over-the-counter medications and herbal remedies are reviewed for potential interactions with warfarin.
Patients are educated about potential dietary factors that could also affect the INR. It is the combination of regular monitoring of the INR, careful medication review and patient education, which together, reduce the risks and maintain the benefits of oral anticoagulant therapy.
All patients must be referred by their primary care physician. At each clinic visit, the patients have their blood sampled, receive the results of the blood test and are informed about any change in medication dosage within 30 minutes.