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Patient comprehension of the risks of anticoagulation, tablet recognition skills and knowledge of complications of warfarin therapy were evaluated in 160 patients attending the anticoagulant clinic in a central Dublin teaching hospital group. Potential complications from over- and under- dosage with warfarin were unknown to 119 (74%) and 97 (60%) patients respectively. 1, 3 and 5 mg tablets could not be identified by 40 (25%), 55 (34%) and 60 (37%) patients respectively. The current prescribed dose could not be recollected by 31 (19%) patients. Haemorrhagic complications occurred in 23 (14%) subjects over one year, four of whom required hospital admission and two blood transfusions. No thromboembolic episodes were noted. This study reveals a widespread lack of understanding of anticoagulation and its potential complications in patients receiving warfarin therapy and has led to a critical reappraisal of patient education, patterns of referral and supervision of such individuals in our clinic.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Ir Med J

Publication Date

09/1990

Volume

83

Pages

94 - 97

Keywords

Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Patient Education as Topic, Warfarin