Anticoagulant drugs thin the blood (I.E. “blood thinners”) to prevent dangerous clotting in the vessels. People take anticoagulants for a variety of reasons:
- Prevent economy-class syndrome after knee or hip joint surgeries, a form of deep vein thrombosis named after the risk of developing this disorder after sitting on a plane too long
- Coronary artery disease
- Atrial fibrillation
Finding the right balance of medication is extremely important, because the blood needs to be able to clot to protect the body from excessive internal or external bleeding. A new type of anticoagulant, called novel oral anti-coagulants (NOACs), are some of the most effective blood thinners of the last decade. They can usually be used safely with other drugs, and patients taking NOACs do not have to change their diet.
The only problem that arises with using NOACs is understanding how their abilities affect different patients. Although they are highly effective, the lack of a technology to accurately determine their effect made it difficult for doctors to recommend an addition or switch with NOACs to their patients already taking anticoagulants.
A new system has alleviated this problem: the total thrombus-formation analysis system (T-TAS) developed by a Japanese company called Fujimori Kogyo Co., Ltd. T-TAS is uniquely able to test thrombus (blood clot) formation “under various blood flow conditions.” Plus, it only needs a small amount of whole blood for each test.
Killing two birds with one stone, researchers from Kumamoto University in Japan tested both the efficacy of the new system and the blood clotting risks of NOAC drugs. They looked at patients from three different cohorts, taking NOACs for various reasons. T-TAS proved to be extremely useful for determining the amount and variety of anticoagulants certain patients should take in certain situations (pre-surgery, post-surgery, etc.).
"With the help of T-TAS data, we were able to prevent future thrombotic and hemorrhagic complications,” said research leader Dr. Kaikita of Kumamoto University. The Kumamoto study was published in the International Journal of Cardiology
Further use of T-TAS will help doctors provide patients with the perfect concoction of anticoagulants, making individualized medicine all the more accessible and easy.
Source: Kumamota University