Self-monitoring using CoaguChek® INRange is beneficial to a wide range of people on long-term warfarin.
Self-monitoring using CoaguChek is beneficial to a wide range of people on long-term warfarin. The stories below describe how self-monitoring with CoaguChek has helped real people, in their own words. Click on the faces below and share in the experiences of the growing numbers of people who enjoy the freedom offered by self-monitoring.
I’ve been on warfarin for 11 years and one year in I decided to self-monitor. I’d seen an advert in INReview and was really keen to self–monitor as I didn’t want to keep waiting for blood tests, which took up so much time. I felt so much younger than the other patients and out of place – and I really don’t like needles! I like to be in control of my health as much as I can and I felt that the CoaguChek would help me with this and generally make my life much easier.
So I purchased the machine directly from Roche after seeing the advert in INReview. I had the support of my local warfarin clinic, which I could call if my INR was outside of my recommended range and with the help of the guide, I found it really easy to use.
I really enjoy holidaying abroad and I’m able to check my blood when I’m away and have peace of mind that everything is okay. I had major heart surgery in September 2012 and to be able to keep a close eye on my blood whilst I was recovering at home and on several different tablets – which affected my INR – was invaluable. I work full time and to only go to the warfarin clinic once a year to check my INR is so much more convenient for me.
I would highly recommend it if you want more freedom and control, rather than feel that you are governed by the fact you have to take regular medication. I wanted the condition I have (and the fact I take warfarin) to fit in with my life as far as possible and not rule my daily life any more than it has to.
I’ve been on warfarin for 14 months and I’ve been self monitoring for around seven months. It was recommended by our specialist cardiac nurses at the Children’s Hospital.
The Children’s Heart Association funded my monitor – and I can get the strips on prescription.
The nurses at the Children’s Hospital helped us. They showed my mum and I how to do it a few times until we were comfortable doing it ourselves and they’ve given us all the support we needed.
We would definitely recommend it. It saves all those trips to the hospital and we can get on with our life more easily. It is extremely good for me as it now means I don’t have to miss as much school as I did before!
I was first prescribed warfarin 20 months ago and I have always self-monitored. The cardiac team at Great Ormond Street Hospital got me started. They provided the CoaguChek monitor and I get my strips on prescription.
It was actually very difficult to get my blood at first but the nurses at Great Ormond Street were very helpful and patient. They gave me excellent training and explained everything I needed to know.
Being able to test my INR in my own time, whether before or after college is the main benefit of self-monitoring. I can talk to the nurses when I report my INR levels and have an input in decisions regarding the dose.
My advice if anyone is considering self-monitoring is do it! Take control of this area of your life. You can use a diary to keep track of changes, perhaps in your diet, or when you’re not well – or if there is anything out of your normal routine. And you can remind yourself when you need to check your INR levels.
I’ve been on warfarin around 10-12 years now and I’m in my third year of self-monitoring. I was asked to join a 100 patient trial by my warfarin health professional and they provided an on-going loan of a CoaguCheck monitor (to be returned to the hospital if I drop out of the trial).
Six years ago I was treated for breast cancer and as that had spread to my glands, it meant I couldn’t have any blood taken on that side. Chemotherapy often leaves you with bad veins even on your ‘good’ side so only having a pin prick saves me a lot of time.
Using the CoaguChek meter means I do not have the worry that I am holding things up, due to my bad veins. It means I don’t have to visit the hospital as frequently which also reduces the parking costs. The hospital I attend is not my local hospital so using CoaguChek means I don’t have to do this longer journey as often.
I text my INR in before 10.00am and an hour later I have my next test date and dose on my phone. I can use it with ease if I am away either in the UK or Europe and I can set up my reminders for the next test date. There is great support if I need it.
Currently I have a twice-yearly check of my testing and the machine itself and this will be reduced to yearly and then every two years. I still have to ring in, if for any reason my health changes or there is a change in my diet or medication. I have had cancer and one of the side-effects was cataracts in both eyes. I was able to take my INR before I went in. It saved loads of time and the doctors were impressed.
I just think it is brilliant. It saves time poking around to find a vein that will work. It saves money and time looking for a parking spot and although I buy the strips this has to be offset against the cost of hospital visits.
I originally saw an advert about self-monitoring in the INReview magazine whilst I was in a hospital waiting room, waiting for a blood test. I bought a CoaguChek after discussing the possibility of using it in conjunction with my anticoagulation clinic.
I needed very little support – just the assurance from the anticoagulation clinic that they supported self-testing and that they would quality check the machine every six to nine months. I also found the Roche CoaguChek helpline helpful when I first got the machine.
I’ve been on warfarin since 2007 and I’ve self-monitored for around five years now. The main benefit is that I am free to test my INR whenever or wherever I need to. I could be in any town in the UK or any country in the world at any time. All I need is access to a phone or computer to let the anticoagulation clinic know my readings and for them to dose me. It’s quick and easy!
It saves time and money. I don’t need to take a half-day off work to attend the hospital for a blood test, cutting down on travelling and hospital car park charges. It must also save the NHS money, allowing them to see people with more critical needs and reducing NHS staff stress by cutting down on patient volume.
Have a chat with your GP and anticoagulation clinic to confirm they support self-testing.There’s lots of information about self-testing in the INReview produced by Anti-Coagulation Europe (ACE). In the magazine they have a list of local contacts if you want further information.
If you feel comfortable ‘Go for it’ – it’ll change your life!
Last year we were about to embark on a ‘trip of a lifetime’ touring New Zealand in a campervan when I was prescribed warfarin. The itinerary meant it wouldn’t be possible to monitor my INR using the clinics/doctors en route, so there was only one option – other than cancelling the trip – and that was to self-monitor.
After discussing the pro’s and con’s with my GP, I purchased a CoaguChek monitor – the same one they use in the surgery – direct from Roche.
Self-monitoring has given me the freedom to monitor my INR anywhere I am, both UK and abroad. This has ranged from New Zealand to the Orkney Islands and many points in between. I phone or email my result to my GP surgery and they let me know if I need to amend my dosage. This cuts out unnecessary visits to my surgery and frees up visits for those who need them.
My GP has been very supportive and the fact that my recently retired husband is a fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists certainly helped my confidence in going down the route of self monitoring – but it is very easy to do and only takes a few minutes.
I say go for it! It helps you to be in control of your life and not be ruled by your ‘illness’.
I started using warfarin 15 years ago – when I was in my thirties – and I started self-monitoring five years ago.
A friend’s son had a monitor and I also became aware of the idea of self-monitoring through my hospital.
I bought mine direct from Roche and the testing strips are provided on prescription. A hospital training day was all I needed to get started.
It is so easy to use and gives you freedom from hospitals and queues.
I supervise a team of multi trade operatives and self-testing reduced my time out of work.
It also allowed me to feel more comfortable if I was travelling abroad. I would test prior to travel and on my arrival at resort as flying made me more nervous due to the higher risk of DVT’s, given my blood condition (low protein c).
I’d been on warfarin some thirteen years when a holiday in Cornwall a couple of years ago changed everything. My INR levels were misbehaving and I had to visit a local clinic four times in one week! It bought home how difficult this would have been if we’d been abroad. I was retired, we were starting to travel more and my husband had been badgering me for some time to get my own testing kit – so this was the deciding moment.
My GP surgery was great. The health worker responsible for warfarin testing there used CoaguCheck and she let me do a test in front of her so I knew I was doing it right. Plus they agreed to supply the strips on prescription. I bought my CoaguCheck direct from Roche, it was cheaper than the online retailers and I didn’t have to pay VAT! I found the manual essential and I did need to ring the helpline once.
All I can say is do it! (if your healthcare professional agrees). It’s so convenient and time saving and it gives you such freedom, as well as confidence as you start to understand your test results better.
I first found out that a self-monitoring kit existed when I was on a cruising holiday. I’d been on warfarin for around ten years by then and I realised how useful it would be to have my own kit. The Nottingham University Hospital helped me obtain my CoaguChek machine and showed me how to use it during an instruction course.
In August 2011 I joined an expedition to sail through the North East Passage through the Barents, Kara, Laptev, East Siberian, Chukchi and Bering Seas – all the way from Murmansk to Anadyr. This was probably the first such expedition since the route had been opened following the melting of the sea ice in the Artic – as a result of global warming.
The journey took nearly a month. Although the ship’s medical officer had no means of measuring INR’s, I self monitor with a CoaguChek kit so it wasn’t a problem for me. CoaguChek proved to be an invaluable asset! This year when I travel to the headwaters of the Amazon in a small boat and canoe it will be with me!
To anyone considering self-monitoring I’d advise them to start as soon as possible. It is convenient, time saving and easy to do.
I first started taking warfarin 10 years ago and this meant going to the anticoagulation clinic once a week for three hours at a time and losing an afternoon at work. My consultant suggested I buy a machine to monitor my own INR but I couldn’t afford it. Then I won a large sum of money at Bingo and decided to invest in a CoaguChek XS machine to give me some control over my condition. I discussed this with the anticoagulation nurse specialist and my GP before buying my monitor direct from Roche.
My GP agreed to prescribe the test strips and the anticoagulation nurses have been wonderful, providing me with advice and support whenever I need it. They drew up a contract between their hospital service and me, which enabled me to self-manage. Furthermore, they check my CoaguChek XS machine three times a year against a venous sample. As I’m self-managing (monitoring and medicating) they made sure I understood how warfarin works.
It is totally liberating. I wanted to travel and have the independence to manage my own condition as much as possible. I can monitor my INR wherever I am and adjust my warfarin doses accordingly. For nine years now I have been able to travel all over the world and across many time zones averting possible further TIAs or a stroke. And I haven’t had to spend time in hospital or clinics. It gives me peace of mind.
If you feel confident to do this, speak to your GP (to make sure they prescribe the test strips as not all GPs do) and to the anticoagulation nurses to make sure they are happy to support you to self-monitor. You will find it empowering to be able to take some control over your illness and closely monitor your medical status.
I’ve been on warfarin 15 years and I’ve self-monitored for four years. The cost of foreign pathology was the driving force. I bought a CoaguChek monitor through Amazon knowing it would save money when I’m abroad and put me in control whilst I was on holiday.
It was easy for me to get started because I am an ex-clinical chemist – so I didn’t need any additional support.
My advice to people who might not have my clinical background is to be careful and follow the instructions to the letter. The necessary support documents are provided.
You can live as well as people whose lives don’t depend on it!
When I was 42 I discovered I had a faulty heart valve after becoming breathless. I had a congenital heart/aortic valve defect that required open-heart surgery. I was subsequently fitted with a mechanical aortic valve (St Jude type) and prescribed life-long warfarin to counter the risk of clots forming on the new valve.
My INR was very unstable and had to be tested regularly by my anti-coagulation clinic. Following a particularly stressful time, which affected the functioning of my warfarin, my results began fluctuating drastically and despite more regular testing I suffered a stroke.
On leaving hospital, I was resolute that I needed more frequent testing to avoid another clot and stroke. My anti-coagulation team were trialling a new test unit made by CoaguChek and after my own research, I decided on the CoaguChek XS system as it was compact and simple. Being needle phobic. I had struggled with the emergency self-injections and the venous blood samples required by most health centres. The CoaguChek resolved this problem.
I bought the machine and strips myself as the health authority and doctors were not initially supportive. But I persisted and eventually satisfied them that I could use the machine correctly and safely and they now support me. Since the recent NICE recommendations, I believe this will become a more common and easily agreed procedure.
I have been self-monitoring for two years since suffering my stroke. It allows me control of the location and frequency of testing. I am now allowed to test and adjust my dose accordingly. I feel relaxed and confident in the management of my warfarin.
The main benefit is the peace of mind I have knowing I am right in the centre to upper third of my INR range and not near the lower risky end for clots to form. It gives me freedom and I am no longer reliant on others. I don’t have to travel, pay for buses and parking, or lose money from having to go during work time. And the result is instant.
I’d say, be self assured and confident if you believe it would enhance your life and you will be able and happy to do it. If you provide a cogent need, then your health authority and doctor should be only too eager to help.
I have an artificial heart valve as a result of a congenital heart condition and I’ve been on warfarin for eight years now and will be for the rest of my life.
It was the cardiac liaison nurses at Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool who got me started on self-monitoring. First they trained my mum and in 2013 they trained me so I can do it myself if, for example, I’m away with the school.
Self-monitoring means I don’t have to go to Liverpool once a month. My advice to anyone considering self-testing is ‘just try it’. I can guarantee that it will transform your life.
A word from Jenny’s mum:
I can’t stress enough how useful it has been to self-test Jenny’s INR. Children cannot have an INR test at a GP surgery, so she would have missed a lot of school travelling to Liverpool Alder Hey Children’s Hospital every time her INR needed testing (45 minutes each way). Also, and very importantly, she wouldn’t be able to grow up as a normal little girl who happens to take warfarin, like she does now. Her heart condition and warfarin would feature much more in her life and make her feel more of a ‘patient’ than she does at present. We have always worked very hard to make sure Jenny has as normal a childhood as she possibly can. You can imagine this, and a lack of education could well have profound implications on her future. The cardiac liaison nurses there are fantastic at empowering the children to take charge of their health as far as is possible.
We test her INR every month and phone the cardiac liaison nurses at Alder Hey with her result. They then give us the dose and tell us when to test her next. Her INR can change dramatically if she is ill, and also if she has a growth spurt which is obviously unique to children. Sometimes we have to check it twice a week. We visit the hospital every six months to have our machine calibrated with the hospital machine and in nearly eight years it has always been fine.
I’ve been on warfarin for 25 years and as a musician, playing throughout Europe, I needed to be able to check my INR myself. Also my INR levels were going crazy so the monthly checks at the anti-coagulation clinic weren’t enough.
I’ve been self-monitoring for 15 years now, getting my strips on prescription. Although he clearly didn’t approve at the time, my consultant reluctantly supported me – and self-checking every week is much more accurate.
My advice to anyone thinking of self-monitoring is to do it every week without fail. It’s easy for days to turn to weeks and weeks to months, so your INR could be anywhere, with potential consequences – so never forget!
After six years on warfarin and with frequent visits to the Anticoagulation Clinic for blood checking, I asked my anticoagulant nurse if it would be possible to investigate self-monitoring. I bought a CoaguChek meter from Roche. The Test Strips and Lancets are available on prescription.
There are a number of benefits. I can test my blood when it suits me; it saves an enormous amount of time and expense in travelling and it leaves the clinic free to use my appointment for someone else. The best benefit I’ve had so far was that, after a minor operation in hospital, I was allowed to be discharged days early from hospital. This was because I was able to check and correct my INR at home, so they didn’t need to keep me in while my INR was corrected to an acceptable level.
I am a Hughes Syndrome sufferer and when my INR is unstable, being able to take extra tests and monitor results over a period of time helps give a more reliable result.
My advice to anyone considering self-monitoring is to discuss with your surgery. Make sure they will support and help you, for example- with sampling instructions to avoid test failures – and find out how best to feed the results back to them. I use email.
I think it is a brilliant device. Great news all round!
In 2009 whilst on a work placement for VSO in Namibia, I had a fall and an X-ray revealed an enlarged heart. Luckily and despite the remote location on the Angolan border there was a GP with a special interest in hearts and after a referral to a cardiologist in Windhoek, involving a ten hour solo drive on my part, the diagnosis was confirmed and I was prescribed aspirin and heart medication.
He also said that I had persistent Atrial Fibrillation (AF) and suspected malaria which could have weakened the heart muscles and that I probably only had five years left to live!
Back in the UK a cardiologist confirmed the diagnosis but reassured me about the life expectancy. He started me on warfarin in preparation for a cardioversion in the New Year of 2010 and referred me to an Electrophysiologist (EP) who referred me to a haematologist to monitor my INR.
Decreased stamina levels and frequent hospital visits for blood tests, meant that I could not go back to work as a Special Educational Needs teacher, so I switched to a manageable amount of consultancy work.
Holidays were a nightmare with my blood being taken in hospitals and clinic in such places as Cyprus, Singapore and Mexico. Eventually, I decided to buy a CoaguChek machine. I emailed my INR results to the haematologist and she would tell me of any change. This happy arrangement continued until she retired.
At the time I was back on aspirin after a successful ablation but a few months later I went back into AF and was re-started on warfarin. Unfortunately the GP did not allow self-testing, despite support from the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), but they did prescribe dabigatran – one of the new anti-coagulants. I took this happily until I had to go back on warfarin for another ablation. I am in persistent, very symptomatic AF, which affects my heart muscles and so am doggedly following the ablation route.
Unfortunately a clot was found and the ablation delayed. This resulted in a change from short to long-term use of warfarin and I searched for a GP practice that would support self-testing. I eventually found one and travelled to the Far East with text messages pinging between myself and a practice’s nurse!
After a successful ablation (my fourth) I’m on warfarin for at least six months. My INR is all over the place and I’m obliged to visit the GP weekly following a reduction in the supply of strips. So I saved mine for a stay in Cyprus! I also took a letter from my EP with detailed instructions should I go back into AF. So you can see I am determined not to let this condition rule my life – and the CoaguChek is a Godsend! I just wish that all GP’s/CCG’s could see the long-term benefits. NICE can.
In 2005 I had an aortic heart valve replacement and I’ve been on warfarin ever since. This meant regular venous testing, which was incompatible with a demanding consulting job and my post as an officer in the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR), both of which involved international travel.
Before I was discharged after the replacement m Seven years ago my cardio thoracic surgeon suggested I consider self-monitoring, but my local hospital would not support self-testing. However, since venous tests negatively impacted my ability to do my job, soseven years ago I bought a CoaguChek monitor. Although my GP practice was supportive, providing my strips on prescription and helping me use the monitor, my anticoagulant clinic did not initially support self-testing. However their policies have changed and now we have a venous test every three months, which keeps them happy and gives me confidence that the test results are correct.
A few years ago I was away for six months taking command of UK Maritime Trade Operations, in Dubai – the single point of contact for all merchant ships South of Suez, and between Africa and India. With Somalian piracy at its peak, it was very demanding. The Royal Navy was initially concerned about my ability to manage my Warfarin while deployed but with Roche’s support I was able to reassure them. The job involved a lot of travel in the Middle East but I was confident that I could manage any changes in my INR easily and without having to visit doctors or hospitals.
With my civilian job I am abroad for at least one week a month. The CoaguChek is vital as change of diet and time zones do sometimes upset my INR slightly, but I can quickly adjust my warfarin.
The CoaguChek is very easy to use. Talk to your GP and start self-testing. The impact on your quality of life could be significant – and you will have the confidence that you are not tied to venous testing.
I’m 11 years old now but I first had to go on warfarin five years ago and I’ve been self-monitoring from the start.
My local healthcare trust did not want to do INR finger prick tests on children so I was advised to self-monitor by a healthcare professional. The CoaguChek monitor was donated through the Bristol Children’s Hospital and I get my strips on prescription from my GP.
A nurse demonstrated how to use the equipment and gave me support and advice on self-monitoring. It’s quick and easy and I can do it as and when I want to, in the comfort of my own home.
If you need to test your INR, do it! Self-testing really is easy to do and there is lots of support available.
I’ve been on warfarin since 2006 and it was a valve replacement community website which got me thinking about the idea of self-monitoring. A brief discussion with my cardiology consultant confirmed that I wanted to go ahead.
I researched it online and then decided to buy my own monitor direct from Roche – which happened to be the same monitor used by my health centre – and I get the strips on prescription.
The clinic supported me by checking my initial readings against their machine and we continue to check together every six to nine months, and although there are sometimes variations, these are slight.
Using CoaguChek over the past three years has meant freedom from regular clinic appointments and the peace of mind, which comes from checking my levels weekly. Before I self-monitored, I once had a seven-day spell in hospital following bleeding when my INR reached 7! Now I use CoaguCheck, I can make adjustments if I am in the high/low range.
If you can afford it go ahead and buy a monitor – but do record your readings in your anticoagulant booklet and be confident in your own ability to make a judgement about changing prescribed doses to stay in range.
After taking warfarin for six years and having experienced repeated bleeding episodes my family decided to buy me a CoaguChek monitor as a present. They bought it on Ebay (although you can buy direct from Roche).
I had advice from both my GP and family and assurance from my health centre that the testing strips would be available on prescription – so this was all I needed to get started.
I’ve been self monitoring for ten years now and I’ve had no bleeding problems due to raised INR.
If you have fluctuating INR and a metabolism that reacts to small changes in diet and exercise levels, you should definitely consider self-testing. It means you can test much more regularly than might be possible through the NHS. It could save your life!