AIMS: To find out which children are treated with oral anticoagulants and how their treatment is controlled in the United Kingdom. METHODS: Two questionnaires were used. The first was sent to general haematologists and the other to paediatric cardiologists and cardiac surgeons. RESULTS: There were 273 (58%) replies to the first questionnaire. Most children were treated because of artificial cardiac valve replacement. The mean target International Normalised Ratio (INR) used was 2.73 to 4.0 for children with heart valves and 2.1 to 3.25 for children with venous thrombosis. The second questionnaire elicited replies from 11 of 22 cardiac centres. The mean target INR used for children with cardiac valves ranged from 2.59-3.77. Of 68 children covered in the survey, there have been two major bleeds and two thrombotic episodes: 78.8% of children were controlled with a venous prothrombin time and 21.2% with a capillary test. There was no consistency in the dose regimens used for the induction of oral anticoagulant treatment with warfarin. CONCLUSIONS: The levels of anticoagulation used for maintenance are similar to those recommended by the British Society for Haematology for adults (3.0 to 4.5). They seem to be safe for children too.
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