Anticoagulation UK

Provision

Anticoagulation UK provides information, tools and resources for patients and healthcare professionals to aid knowledge and understanding of the conditions requiring anticoagulation  including all available anticoagulation therapy option

Please review all the categories below to find the information you require:

Anticoagulants

Anticoagulants are a type of drug that reduce the body's ability to form clots in the blood. Although they are sometimes called blood thinners, they do not actually thin the blood but interfere with the clotting process and therefore help to stop clots forming in the veins.

This type of medicine will not dissolve clots that already have formed, although it will help to stop an existing clot from getting larger.

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Post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS)

Post thrombotic syndrome is a complication of deep vein thrombosis affecting around 20-40% of people with a history of DVT.

If you have had a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), usually in the leg, the blood clot in the vein of your calf can divert the flow of blood to other veins, causing an increase in pressure on the vein walls which can damage the valves that work to keep the blood circulating in the leg. 

PTS may develop within six months and up to two years after an initial DVT.  People who have a recurrence of DVT will be at heightened risk of the condition.

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Heart Valves and Heart Valve Disease

The heart is a sophisticated pump that keeps blood moving around the body. It carries oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body and carries away unwanted waste products including carbon dioxide.

Within the heart, there are four chambers. The two upper chambers are the Atria and the larger lower chambers are known as the Ventricles. As your heart muscle contracts, it pushes blood through your heart.  With each contraction or heartbeat, deoxygenated blood flows into the right side of the heart, which pumps it to the lungs to pick up oxygen. The oxygenated blood then returns to the left side and is then transported by the circulatory system to the tissues of the body.

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Stroke

A stroke is a serious medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. It can affect our bodily functions, thought processing, ability to learn, communication and emotions.

There are two types of stroke. When a blood clot blocks in a blood vessel in the brain this is called an ischemic stroke or bleeding from a ruptured vessel in the brain this is called a haemorrhagic stroke.

A stroke is a medical emergency. If you think someone is having a stroke dial 999 immediately.

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Thrombosis & Genetic Disorders

Thrombophilia refers to a group of conditions where the blood clots more easily than normal. This can lead to unwanted blood clots forming within blood vessels. These blood clots can cause problems such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE).

Thrombophilia occurs if the normal balance of the clotting system is upset. There may be too much of a clotting factor, or too little of a substance that opposes clotting.
Thrombophilia can cause unwanted blood clots. This does not mean that you will develop a blood clot, but that you have a higher risk than normal of having clots. The extra risk will depend on the type of thrombophilia that you have.

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Warfarin and self-monitoring

Warfarin is an oral anticoagulant which is used to treat people who are at risk of blood clots. It can be prescribed for short term or for long-term conditions to prevent blood clots for people who are at high risk.

Blood clots can cause deep vein thrombosis (DVT) usually in the leg or arm and pulmonary embolism (PE) when a piece of the clot breaks off and travels to the lungs. PE is a medical emergency. Collectively, DVT and PE are known as Venous Thromboembolism (VTE).

If you have atrial fibrillation a blood clot can travel from the heart to the brain and cause a stroke.

People with mechanical heart valves are also at risk of blood clots. Mechanical heart valves can cause blood clots that then break off and go to the brain causing a stroke, or to other organs or limbs. In some cases, the blood can clot on the valve itself, causing it to malfunction.

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Glossary of Terms

Helpful A-Z glossary listing key medical terms and their definition.

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