Monday, February 25, 2008

Education is the KEY

Every few months or so the topic of home INR machines is brought up and as of late, debated, on APS support forums and e-lists.

It appears as though certain groups are pushing people to get the machines and even promoting the purchase of the machines (as if they were getting a kick back from them?). And then there are other groups who are adamantly against the machines.

These machines have put into their literature that there are "limitations" when it comes to APS patients. They mention those who have a positive Lupus Anticoagulant, however, listed here we have a personal story from someone who has a negative LA and actually has Seronegative APS or SNAPS and she had problems with her home machine.

Did you know that there can be other factors that can also affect the readings? Anemia is one thing, and also Lovenox/Heparin use within 24 hours of the reading can cause it to be off.

If you needed a carseat for your child and there were only two to choose from…would you buy the one that had listed certain "limitations" or would you go for the one that was deemed "safe"? Maybe not a good comparison, but the warnings are in black and white. Who can question that?

If you get your INR from your home machine and have to "add or subtract a point" because you KNOW it's off…what does that tell you?? What if it's off by 2 or 3 points and you only added 1? So then a 2.2 reading…+ 1 pt would be 3.2…but it's off 2, so your TRUE INR is actually 1.2??? Do you know what can happen to some people when their INR drops that low?? Clots…Strokes…PE's…

Is the convenience of having the machine at home worth risking your life over?

I am urging you to educate yourself. Call the companies, ask the questions. If your doctor is pushing this machine, do they get money for each machine sold? Same with an organization that may be pushing it…are THEY getting money for each machine sold? Talk to people who use the machines. Ask them how often they do comparisons with a vein draw. Read the stories of people who have had problems. 1 in 10 is one too many if you ask me.

Educate yourself. Make an educated decision, not a knee jerk, convenience decision. The "limitations" are in black and white. If you have APS…YOU are the limitation.

This is also referring to the finger stick machines at the clinics or dr offices. One of the stories was from a dr's machine and not a home machine.

It's your life, your decision. Is the convenience of not going to the clinic worth your health and possibly your life? How convenient will it be for yourself, your family, friends and loved ones if you're dead?
Sunday, February 24, 2008

Lyn's Experience

These are excerpts taken from a thread in the APS Friends and Support forum located at

How about the finger stick in the hospital lab? I like it because I know my INR right away. But if the elbow stick is more accurate.... The only time I had both a finger stick and the elbow stick, the numbers were the same.

I had the chance to get a little evidence on my own. I had a blood draw from the doctor's, and asked them to do a pt/inr, then I went straight to the hospital where I have a standing order. and got a finger stick. the finger stick was 1.9, the venopuncture was 2.3. Venopuncture from now on.

I'm going to tell the people at my hospital that APS people shouldn't get fingersticks. I think we all should tell our doctors, phlebotomists, vampire people, etc. that venous is the only way for us APS folks. They don't necessarily read the literature, and APS is such a new diagnosis that they haven't learned this in school, and it hasen't hit the continuing medical education courses. So we 'special ones' surround us with people who do know that. lrb
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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bec's Experience with INRatio.

I gave the finger prick test a try, too. Came back as 4.1, so they said "great, let's leave your dosage alone." I told the dr that I was not confident in that result because my body was telling me that my INR was below 3. I asked to be sent to the hospital for a stat venous draw. They humored me and I had the stat draw within 10 min. It came back 2.3. No more finger stick for me! The dr called the company (INRatio) and the company said it wasn't accurate for a lot of people with APS. Now, the dr is trying to find out which of her patients have APS, so she can check all of them as well.

I go to Labcorp for the venous draws, and I mentioned how the finger stick was so inaccurate. The phlebotomist said she has several people who come in for venous draws because it is inaccurate for them as well; she said that is one of the reasons why Labcorp has not switched over.

I speak from personal experience, and the INRatio machine is not accurate for people with APS. After the huge discrepancy with my result, my dr called the company and the company admitted that it is not accurate for people with APS. If you do a search on their website (, you can find the warning.

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My goal is to educate APS patients on long term coumadin or warfarin about the possible dangers of using, and relying on Home (finger stick) INR machines to test their INR. Nothing more, nothing less. **I am not affiliated with any APS group, but a member of many. I am just trying to educate people about these machines.**
Disclaimer: This blog was created to educate APS patients about Home INR and finger stick machines. The posts here are strictly the opinion of the author(s) and links are provided where appropriate. I am not a doctor.

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