Quick reference guide
An estimated 840, 000 people in the UK require long-term anticoagulation treatment. Indications for oral anticoagulants include deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and being at risk of embolism from atrial fibrillation or mechanical prosthetic heart valves. In 2007 the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) published key measures for safeguarding patients on anticoagulants. These are aimed at mitigating risks arising from patient, medicine and clinical management related factors to avoid an adverse event. The main adverse effect associated with anticoagulants is bleeding. All these factors are interdependent and you need to consider them as part of your role in ensuring the safe use of anticoagulants.