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Sheffield, United Kingdom

Jennings I.,UK NEQAS Blood Coagulation | Walker I.D.,UK NEQAS Blood Coagulation | Kitchen S.,UK NEQAS Blood Coagulation | Kitchen D.,UK NEQAS Blood Coagulation | And 5 more authors.
International Journal of Laboratory Hematology

Introduction: The quality of anticoagulation management is not readily or frequently assessed, particularly between different centres. This study sought to evaluate agreement in oral anticoagulant management decisions between participating centres in UK NEQAS programmes. Methods: Participants were asked to indicate whether they used computerized dosing support software (CDSS) and to complete a series of questions with respect to anticoagulant management provision. Four clinical scenarios were provided, together with past and current International Normalised Ratio (INR) results. Participants were asked to provide recommendations on the target INR they would assign to the patient, the dose of warfarin and a recall interval. Results: Seven hundred and fifty-nine centres returned results, of which 28% were enrolled in the hospital-based EQA programme, and 72% were participants in the point-of-care testing programme. Six hundred (79%) reported use of CDSS. In one straightforward scenario, there was 99% agreement in dose recommendation. However, for three more complex scenarios, differences were apparent in target INRs employed and both dose and recall recommendations. In some cases, differences related to the software system employed. Conclusion: The study emphasizes large variation in the approach to managing these scenarios and warrants further investigation, together with education including promoting national guidelines for the assignment of target ranges. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source

Kristoffersen A.-H.,University of Bergen | Thue G.,University of Bergen | Ajzner E.,Central Laboratory | Claes N.,Hasselt University | And 16 more authors.
Thrombosis Research

Introduction: Standardisation of treatment with vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) is still an issue after 60 years of use. The study aimed to explore aspects of VKA monitoring in primary and secondary care. Methods: Two case histories were distributed to physicians in 13 countries. Case history A focused on a patient with atrial fibrillation on stable anticoagulation (latest INR 2.3). Physicians were asked about frequency of INR measurement, when to change the VKA dose, and the patient's annual risk of ischemic stroke and bleeding. Case history B focused on a patient with an unexpected INR of 4.8, asking for the patient's 48-hour bleeding risk, the immediate dose reduction and time until a repeat INR. Results: Altogether, 3016 physicians responded (response rate 8 - 38%), of which 82% were from primary care and 18% from secondary care. Answers varied substantially within and between countries regardless of level of care and VKA used. Median number of weeks between INR measurements was 4 - 6 weeks. Median threshold INR for increasing or decreasing the VKA dose was 1.9 and 3.1, respectively. Risk of ischemic stroke and bleeding were overestimated 2 - 3 times. In case history B, the median dose reduction the two first days was 75% for GPs and 55% for specialists, irrespective of estimates of bleeding risk; with one week to a repeat INR. Conclusion: Variation in VKA monitoring is substantial implying clinical consequences. Guidelines seem either unknown or may be considered impracticable. Further efforts towards standardisation of VKA management are needed. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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