Testing for thrombophilia is useful when deciding the length of time a patient will be on anticoagulants. The problem with anticoagulants is that they are risky. You only want to be on anticoagulants if the risk of clotting is larger than the risk of a life threatening bleed. Testing for thrombophilia will give you more information so that you and your doctor can determine which risk is more acceptable for you.
To determine if thrombophilia testing is right for you, you should:
- Ask your doctor if having thrombophilia would change his or her recommendations about the amount of time that you will take anticoagulant medications. If the test will not change treatment, the test is not needed.
- Talk with your doctor and insurance agents about the impact the findings may have on your ability to obtain life insurance.
- Consider your age. Many recommendations state that individuals under the age of 50 that had a DVT or PE without a significantly large risk factor (abdominal surgery, bed ridden, cancer, or other major risks) have tests run to see what may have caused the clot.
- Consider your risks. Can you and your doctor identify any MAJOR risks? A major risk may be able to be eliminated so that the clot doesn't repeat. If you only had a minor risk (weight and birth control are examples) there is a good chance that something else contributed to your clot.
- Ask your medical team what they feel are typical, minor, and major risks for blood clots and figure out where you fit into that list.
- Consider what risks will be in your future. Are you thinking about birth control, infertility treatments, cancer, hormone replacement, frequent long haul airplane trips, or any other big risks? You may want to know if you have a clotting condition that will put you at further risk.
- Is there a family history of clotting or miscarriage? If there is, let your doctors know!