A Thinner Argument
Warfarin received its first approval for clinical use in 1954.
So this is Warfarin’s 70th anniversary, more or less. Warfarin was intended for longer term use than heparin. Originally this meant longer-term blood thinning, but perhaps its creators were prophetic, since we’ve relied on Warfarin for seven decades.
All drugs can have side effects (even plain aspirin can kill you if you eat it with a shovel.) Because of this, the progress of procedural technology always aims to reduce or eliminate the need for drugs. One such procedure is prosthetic heart valve replacement (as opposed to porcine graft).
Prosthetics offer several advantages, such as avoidance of postoperative Warfarin. Regardless, research debate has raged. Prosthetic valve use has surged in recent years, and Warfarin advocates insist it can still provide increased protection.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic decided to clear the air, so they aggregated and analyzed data on 10,000 patients from across the nation. Physicians are often reluctant to prescribe Warfarin post-op because of bleeding concerns associated with any blood thinner. And the Mayo Clinic researchers did find a slightly increased bleeding risk with Warfarin (4% with vs 2.3% without). But that pales in comparison to the benefit—a 32% reduction in associated mortality when Warfarin is used.
Warfarin has been around for a long time, but there’s an expression that’s been around even longer, courtesy of Franklin.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
We live by that moto. When our flow measurement system prevents a single OR bring-back, it pays for itself. Not to mention the potential savings to the patient’s health and life.
We don’t know if Franklin would have recommended Warfarin, but the implications of the Mayo Clinic’s research seem pretty clear…
Thanks for reading,
Transonic Systems, Inc.
The Measure of Better Results