The frequency of clinic attendance of long-term anticoagulant patients varies considerably between centres. At this hospital, patients with a record of good anticoagulant control are seen every 3 months, which is double the currently recommended period. To assess this policy, the British ratio of 461 patients on long-term anticoagulants was examined at each visit over the last year. 46% of patients had been seen only at 3-month intervals over the last 5 visits and their anticoagulant control was excellent, 88% of visits falling in the British ratio range 2.0-4.0. It is concluded that amongst chronic anticoagulant patients a significant subgroup may be identified who can safely be monitored at 3-monthly intervals, and this has considerable cost implications.

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