What is Anticoagulant Therapy?
Anticoagulant therapy is taking a medication to try to prevent the blood from coagulating (clotting). There are several anticoagulants Coumadin, Heparin, Lovenox, and aspirin (ASA).
Many disease states necessitate anticoagulation such as DVT (deep venous thrombosis), AMI (acute myocardial infarction), and polycythemia vera to name a few. AMI is a good example because if you are having a heart attack, what you have is a clot somewhere that is affecting normal blood flow to the heart. Commonly these thrombi are located in the coronary vasculature.
Depending on what the diagnosis is and how ill you are, will determine the correct medication and dose to accomplish the clinical goals. Also, depending on if you are an inpatient or outpatient, determines the correct course of therapy.
Anticoagulants are often referred to as blood thinners. These are used to keep the blood from clotting as easily. These kinds of drugs are usually taken orally but sometimes they are administered through an IV.
The reason that people generally take these kinds of medications is because they are at some kind of risk due to clotting. For example, people with atrial fibrillation often take anticoagulants because blood pools in the heart and there is a risk that it could clot which would be very dangerous.
People who take anticoagulants are at risk for bleeding and bruising much more easily. For example, surgery can be very dangerous to a person who is on anticoagulants because they do not clot easily.
Anticoagulant Therapy is therapeutic use of anticoagulant medications, commonly referred to as blood-thinners, such as 'Wafarin'. Anticoagulant drug therapy may be done through oral administration or through the IV mode for a wide range of health hazards from deep vein thrombosis to atrial fibrillation. In the former, Anticoagulant Therapy is done so that existing clotting problem does not worsen. In the latter, the therapy is done to prevent the clotting of the pooled blood in the heart. However, this therapy is not without some risks, for patients undergoing the therapy are more susceptible to bleeding. Such patients may bruise easily and bleed even from small cuts. The doctor has to review the risks and benefits of the Anticoagulant Therapy and judiciously achieve a balance, especially in case of a patient needing surgery.