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Safety alert on inappropriate anticoagulation

A National Patient Safety Alert has been issued on the risk of inappropriate anticoagulation of patients with a mechanical heart valve.

All patients with prosthetic mechanical heart valves require life-long oral anticoagulation with a vitamin K antagonist (VKA), usually warfarin, as these valves predispose the patient to systemic embolism.

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, published guidance supported clinical teams to review patients treated with a VKA and where appropriate change their medication to an alternative anticoagulant (eg. a low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) or a direct oral anticoagulant (DOAC)). This was partly to reduce the frequency of clinic attendance for monitoring, and thus reduce the risk to patients. The guidance listed exceptions where specific patients should not be switched from a VKA, including patients with a mechanical heart valve.

However, incidents have been reported of patients with a mechanical heart valve being switched to a LMWH or a DOAC. This alert asks GPs and other NHS providers of anticoagulation services to identify any patients who have a record of a mechanical heart valve and are receiving a DOAC, and to urgently review these patients to ensure they are on the most appropriate anticoagulation therapy and monitoring. 

Failure to take the actions required under any National Patient Safety Alert may lead to CQC taking regulatory action. For further information click here

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Upcoming Events

BSG LIVE 22

ICC, Birmingham
20th – 23rd June 2022

EBME Expo 2022

Coventry Building Society Arena, Phoenix Way, Rowleys Green, Coventry CV6 6GE
28th - 29th June

Infection 360: What's trending in infection prevention & control

Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham
27-28 September 2022

IP2022 IS COMING TO BOURNEMOUTH IN OCTOBER 2022

Bournemouth
17-19 October 2022

UKHCA Conference: Listen Up

Pendulum Hotel and Manchester Conference Centre, Manchester
3rd November 2022

MEDICA 2022

Dusseldorf Germany
14th November - 17th November

Access the latest issue of Clinical Services Journal on your mobile device together with an archive of back issues.

Download the FREE Clinical Services Journal app from your device's App store

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