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coumadin and pacemaker
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coumadin and pacemaker

My 90 year old mother has had a pacemaker for more than a year with no complications or problems.  She lives independently, uses a walker, and is relatively active for her age.  Her cardiologist wants her to come in to talk about starting to take coumadin.  This is not based on any recent testing, etc.  Why would she need to take such a strong blood thinner, one with so many potential complications?  
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That is a really good question to ask her doctor.  When people get up in age into their 90's usually they have trouble with blood clotting.  The body has a hard time clotting the blood due to aging.  Also, Coumadin is hard on the arteries and with her age her arteries may be weak or thin.  Coumadin is a very strong blood thinner and has some very serious side effects such as stomach cancer.  It also can cause osteoporosis.  Before her doctor starts her on any blood thinner, make sure that she has blood drawn and it is proven that her blood is thick enough to require this.  You also may want to seek a second opinion.  
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No offense intended but the above comment is nonsense!  Older people have a problem with blood clots because they CAUSE heart attacks and strokes.  If your Mom has carotid stenosis (in her neck), she may need this to prevent a stroke.  If she has atrial fibrillation she definitely needs this to thin the blood that has a potential to pool during the fibrillation.  Coumadin is pretty safe UNLESS your Mom is a fall risk.  Falling can cause severe bleeding anywhere in the body, including the brain.  This is what makes it dangerous.  If she is sturdy and needs this drug, go with it.  You must be tested monthly for clotting studies.  There are other ways to accomplish the same thing, aspiring is the most common but not as effective.  And face that she is 90 and the quality of life is important in the last years of her life.  
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