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Position Statement on In-hospital/Clinic Point-of-care Coagulation Testing for Anticoagulation Monitoring in Saudi Arabia.

OBJECTIVES: Hospital overload is a persistent occurrence in daily practice. Interventions such as point-of-care testing (POCT) are needed to alleviate the pressure faced by healthcare providers and administrators.

METHODS: An invited panel of experts from Saudi Arabia was formed under the auspices of the Saudi Heart Association in order to discuss local treatment gaps in the management of patients receiving anticoagulation therapy. This was done in a series of meetings, which resulted in the development of official recommendations for the implementation of POCT for anticoagulation monitoring in the country. Recommendations were based on a comprehensive literature review and international guidelines taking into consideration local clinical practice, clinical gaps, and treatment/testing availabilities.

RESULTS: Vitamin K antagonist (VKA)-based anticoagulation therapy requires routine monitoring. POCT is a promising model of care for the monitoring of International Normalized Ratio (INR) in patients receiving oral anticoagulation in terms efficacy, safety and convenience. The availability of POC INR testing should not replace the use of standard laboratory anticoagulation monitoring. However, there are several indications for implementing POCTINR monitoring that was agreed upon by the expert panel. POCT for anticoagulation monitoring should primarily be used in the warfarin (or other VKA) monitoring clinic in order to ensure treatment efficiency, cost-effectiveness of care, patient satisfaction, and quality of life improvement. The expert panel detailed the requirements for the establishment of a warfarin (or other VKA) monitoring clinic in terms of organization, safety, quality control, and other logistic and technical considerations. The limitations of POCT should be recognized and recommendations on best practices should be strictly followed. Core laboratory confirmation should be sought for patients with higher INR results (>4.7) on POCT. Proper training, quality control, and regulatory oversight are also critical for preserving the accuracy and reliability of POCT results.

CONCLUSIONS: POCT enables more rapid clinical decision-making in the process of diagnosis (rule-in or rule-out), treatment choice and monitoring, and prognosis, as well as operational decision-making and resource utilization. POCT thus can fulfill an important role in clinical practice, particularly for patients receiving VKAs.

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