PT INR Testing with the CoaguCheck XS December 12 2014
Ever feel like you’re a little low on platelets? Maybe you’re feeling that your blood isn’t quite sticky enough? Just kidding! But actually, there is a test for that. Your blood’s ability to clot is measured by a PT-INR test. That weird looking acronym stands for “Prothrombin Time – International Normalized Ratio”. What does that all mean? Prothrombin time is a measure of the time it takes your blood to clot. International Normalized Ratio is a way of standardizing test results so they can be understood by any medical professional, regardless of their familiarity with the testing methodology. This is helpful if your test is performed in a lab, and the results are sent to a primary care provider for interpretation.
So what do the results of this test explain? PT-INR tests can actually be used for a lot of things. They are often used to measure the efficacy of blood thinning medication, making sure that they are working, and that your blood isn’t clotting too much. They can also be used to measure the opposite; whether or not your blood is clotting too much or too fast. The test can also help to determine if it is safe to operate when there is a high chance of bleeding occurring. The test is also used to check for possible causes of excessive bleeding or clotting or to check liver function, as Prothrombin, the chemical that the test screens for, is made by healthy livers at a certain rate.
Prothrombin Time tests have traditionally required labor and time intensive methodologies. Blood is drawn and mixed with an anti-coagulant, then centrifuged so that plasma can be gathered for the test. The anti-coagulant is then neutralized, and a laboratory tech runs a special test.
Luckily, there is now a faster, easier approach. With the Roche Coagucheck XS, the PT-INR test can be completed in as little as 1 minute. There is no need to separate the blood into components. The test is performed by simply placing a small amount of whole blood on a Coagucheck test strip. The strip is then inserted into the reader for fast, one-minute, lab-equivalent results. You won’t need to send your patients out for a separate test, just do it in the office, and get your results fast.