As people age and live longer the probability of acquiring a condition called thromboembolic disease becomes more likely. Once a patient is diagnosed, anticoagulant therapy is typically prescribed. Indications for oral anticoagulant therapy (OAT) with anticoagulants to prevent thromboembolic disease without increasing the risk of hemorrhagic complications have increased in recent years to include a variety of cardiac and vascular diseases.
The most common indications for OAT include patients who are at risk for the formation of blood clots because of atrial fibrillation, prosthetic heart valve replacements, inherited or acquired disorders, and to prevent the reoccurrence of heart attacks and transient ischemic attacks (TIAs). Prothrombin times have to be monitored frequently in patients who are taking oral anticoagulants to determine the safest dose and minimize the risk for complications by maintaining the INR within the appropriate therapeutic range. Over treatment with anticoagulants can result in central nervous system and/or gastrointestinal bleeding and under treatment or failure to treat can result in thrombotic strokes and other thromboembolic complications.
Use of the International Normalized Ratio (INR) or prothrombin time (PT) - standard measurement for reporting the blood's clotting time - allows physicians to determine the level of anticoagulation in a patient independent of the laboratory reagents used. The INR is the ratio of the patient's PT (extrinsic or tissue-factor coagulation pathway) compared to the mean PT for a group of normal individuals.
Maintaining patients within prescribed therapeutic range minimizes adverse events associated with inadequate or excessive anticoagulation such as serious bleeding or thromboembolic events. Patient self-testing and self-management through the use of a home INR monitor is expected to improve the time in therapeutic rate (TTR) for select groups of patients. Increased TTR leads to improved clinical outcomes and reductions in thromboembolic and hemorrhagic events.
Monitor supplier have been stepping up their training offerings in recent years, a reflection of the importance of maintaining blood chemistry within normal limits. In spite of the safety concerns, the demographics and trend patterns for this device application remain strong.
More information on the growth prospects for OAT patient self-monitoring can be found in a new and comprehensive report, researched and prepared by Greystone Research Associates. Coagulation Self-Testing: Devices, Markets, Players and Prospects examines and profiles existing and pipeline patient meters and monitors, analyzes key technology, design and acceptance factors, and provides market data and forecasts.
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