Author(s): Ansell JE
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Prothrombin time monitoring of oral anticoagulation is highly dependent on the tissue thromboplastin used. In the United States, patients have received a higher level of anticoagulation because of the use of a less sensitive thromboplastin. Many advocate the use of an International Normalized Ratio to rectify this problem. Laboratory supervisors from all acute care hospitals in Massachusetts were surveyed to determine the disparity in thromboplastin use and reporting practices for prothrombin time testing. Eighty-eight of 103 (86\%) hospitals responded. Fifty-eight lots from six manufacturers of thromboplastin were in use. The International Sensitivity Index of these lots ranged from 1.89 to 2.74. Ninety-nine percent of hospitals reported prothrombin times in raw seconds. Only 5\% reported an International Normalized Ratio. Sixteen different coagulation instruments were in use. Close to 70\% of laboratory supervisors had little or no understanding of the significance of an International Sensitivity Index or an International Normalized Ratio. The management of oral anticoagulation appears far less precise than had been believed. Prothrombin times in the same individual from different laboratories may have poor correlation. Based on the level of understanding of laboratory supervisors, extensive education will be necessary to change practices and improve accuracy and comparability of prothrombin time testing.
This article was published in Am J Clin Pathol
and referenced in Journal of Blood Disorders & Transfusion