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Be careful with blood thinners

Janet Delaney, the nurse practitioner who shared advice on blood pressure cuffs in today’s lead story, heads Sarasota Memorial’s Anticoagulation Clinic.One of only a few highly trained anticoagulation speciosities nationwide, Delaney knows all about blood thinners. Her job is help patients safely manage their medications for optimum benefit and lowest risk.“Anticoagulation drugs are one of the most dangerous medications prescribed to patients,” Delaney said. “The risk of adverse bleeding can cause serious complications and even death, but studies show that when people are cared for by specialists, that risk can be reduced. Patients need to know we are here to help them.”Doctors prescribe blood thinners to help reduce the risk of dangerous blood clots in people who have had heart attacks, strokes or serious blood clotting conditions. Patients who get artificial heart valves also are prescribed blood thinners.But maintaining the correct dose is a balancing act, Delaney says.Sarasota Memorial’s clinic is staffed with a cardiologist medical director and specially trained certified nurses who can monitor patients’ medication dosages. Services include: one-on-one counseling and assessment, on-site blood tests with immediate results and ongoing education and support.Patients can be referred at any stage of anticoagulation therapy, but they must have a physician’s referral.Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance cover some or all of the services provided.Uninsured patients who have financial difficulties may be eligible for free or discounted care.Therapy is offered at two locations:n Sarasota Memorial’s Heart & Vascular Institute, 1540 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, across from Sarasota Memorial Hospital on Waldemere Street, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Friday. Call (941) 917-8889.n Sarasota Memorial Institute for Advanced Medicine, 5880 Rand Blvd. (off Clark Road near I-75), 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Call (941) 917-8230.“Many physicians turn their patients over to us,” Delaney said. “We look at all of the risks involve to protect the patient. It is all evidence-based assessment. There is no guesswork.”