Portable instrument CoaguChek device by Roche Diagnostics allows self-monitoring, which means checking blood coagulation results (INR) by the patient using a sample of capillary blood. According to expert estimates, there is around 7 million people in the world, and about 2 million in Europe, for which anticoagulant therapy is essential and a necessity to protects their life. For controls of anticoagulation treatment traditional laboratory determination of prothrombin time expressed as INR values is frequently used. Patients usually have to go to local lab every month to get their INR results.
CoaguChek device can be compared to a glucometer by its size and way of use. It’s easily portable so it is great for travel. If you go on vacation it is advisable to pack CoaguChek in your hand luggage. Currently not covered by insurance and the cost is about 994 USD. If you are traveling for an extended period of time, you have a problem to keep stable level of INR or traveling to exotic countries, where healthcare is questionable, CoaguChek is necessary.
Overall, there are three companies producing portable device for testing of INR. The most accurate of them is currently CoaguChek. CoaguChek results are as reliable as tests in the laboratory and this device is even used in many medical clinics for fast INR testing.
Is CoaguChek device right for you?
Before you buy CoaguChek device you should see your doctor and consult with him your future monitoring of INR. Since the strips for the monitor are expensive and not paid by insurance, it looks like the best option going for testing to the laboratory regularly and using CoaguChek for traveling or anytime you feel unwell, you are sick and you want to make sure that your INR is in the proper range. Even if you have a CoaguChek, you still have to go regularly to the lab. CoaguChek just adds some extra safety to your life on warfarin. Your doctor should advise you on the proper use of Coaguchek and consult with you the results. After longer experience with monitoring of INR, you might be able to adjust your warfarin dose yourself by the results – but only after you consult with your doctor the right INR management. Warfarin is a drug that can fluctuate quite rapidly in the blood and its levels may change dramatically within a few days. Therefore, one must learn to understand how warfarin works in your body, consistently adhere to the dosage of the drug and be very careful when adjusting the dose.
CoaguChek device for home testing does not replace a doctor, only complements. If you manage your anticoagulation therapy using CoaguChek correctly, it contributes to a more efficient and convenient monitoring of your INR and ultimately safer use of warfarin, because you spend more time in your target therapeutic INR range.
Do you travel with CoaguChek device to exotic countries?
CoaguChek is an indispensable travel companion for patients on warfarin. To travel to exotic countries, I recommend to carry also a thin booklet in English about what the device is and what it is used for (booklet is part of CoaguChek pack) – for security controllers eg. at airports etc. Keep CoaguChek in your carry-on baggage. Next, get the travel vaccination passport and let your doctor write there that you use warfarin, why and mention the CoaguChek for blood coagulation management. Put a stamp from a doctor and medical institution. This can save you some time explaining in some countries and it is overall safer to carry important information about your health with you.