Alere INRatio Blood-Testing System: FAQ
You may have recently heard about health complications associated with the Alere INRatio PT/INR blood-testing system. If so, there is probably a very good chance that you have several questions, a few of which we will answer here.
What is the Alere INRatio Device?
The Alere INRatio PT/INR system is used by patients taking the blood thinning drug warfarin. In a nutshell, it is designed to show a patient how well his or her blood is clotting. This is extremely important, because doctors often use the results to determine whether or not to change the dosage of the drug. If too much warfarin is taken, the patient may be at risk of a severe bleeding event. If, on the other hand, the patient does not take enough of the drug, he or she will be susceptible to a stroke due to a blood clot.
The Alere INRatio system works by inserting a test strip into the device and then applying a drop of blood to the strip. The device then provides a digital readout of the PT/INR level. Patients can connect the Alere INRatio to their home computer and then e-mail the results to their doctor. This is a major improvement in regard to convenience, because patients have traditionally had to go to their doctor’s office to have blood tests performed, and then those tests had to be sent to an outside laboratory to get the results.
What is PT/INR?
PT is short for prothrombin time, which shows how the body reacts after a blood vessel rupture has occurred. INR, short for international normalized ratio, tells how many seconds it takes for the plasma in the blood to clot.
In most cases, if a patient’s INR level is 2-3, then his or her blood will typically be able to clot properly. If someone is at a particularly high risk for dangerous clotting, then his or her INR level will usually be set between 2.5 and 3.5. A doctor will typically look at the results of a PT/INR test and adjust the warfarin dosage level if needed.
What is the Biggest Problem Associated with the Alere INRatio System?
Many users and doctors have reported that the Alere INRatio device produces alarmingly erroneous results. For example, it may show that a patient’s level is 2.5 when it is actually much higher – at least 10 levels higher. The higher the level, the thinner the patient’s blood will be.
When a reading is this inaccurate, the patient will assume he or she is safe when the reality is much different. That patient will be at a high risk of suffering a potentially life-threatening bleeding event if his or her warfarin dose is not properly adjusted.