Management strategies following slightly out-of-range INRs: watchful waiting vs dose changes.
Patients' international normalized ratios (INRs) often fall slightly out of range. In these cases, the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) guidelines suggest maintaining the current warfarin dose and retesting the INR within the following 2 weeks (watchful waiting). We sought to determine whether watchful waiting or dose changes for slightly out-of-range INRs is more effective in obtaining in-range INRs at follow-up. INRs and management strategies of warfarin-treated patients within the Michigan Anticoagulation Quality Improvement Initiative registry were analyzed. Management strategies included watchful waiting or dose changes. INRs slightly out of range (target range 2.0-3.0) and their associated management were identified. Multilevel mixed-effects logistic regression was used to estimate the probability of the next INR being in range, adjusted for clustering due to multiple out-of-range INRs per patient. A total of 45 351 slightly out-of-range INRs (ranging 1.50-1.99 and 3.01-3.49) from 8288 patients were identified. The next INR was slightly less likely to be in range with watchful waiting than with a dose change (predicted probabilities 58.9% vs 60.0%, P = 0.024). Although a significant statistical difference was detected in the probabilities of the next INR being back in range when managed by a dose change compared with watchful waiting following a slightly out-of-range INR, the magnitude of the difference was small and unlikely to represent clinical importance. Our study supports the current guideline recommendations for watchful waiting in cases of slightly out-of-range INRs values.