Reasons to take warfarin

Why am I on warfarin?

Warfarin is used for many different medical reasons. This medicine may also be prescribed for uses that are not listed below.

Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE):

DVTs are blood clots that form in the deep veins of the legs or arms. Part of the clot may break off and go to the lung, causing a PE.

Peripheral artery disease:

This is when not enough blood gets to your legs, arms, or feet. This is caused by the arteries getting clogged up and getting harder.

Atrial fibrillation:

The upper heart chambers (atria) beat in a disorganized way and cause rapid, irregular heartbeats. This causes the blood to pool, which may allow a clot to form. If these clots break loose, they may travel to the brain and cause a stroke.

Stroke or cerebrovascular accident (CVA):

A stroke is caused by a blood clot that forms in the brain. This may also be caused by another material (emboli) moving through the blood that goes to the brain.

Transient ischemic attack (TIA):

A brief stroke that happens when the blood flow to the brain is briefly stopped.

Valve replacement:

Artificial or mechanical heart valves are very useful in replacing bad heart valves. However, these valves are not a natural part of your body and clotting can happen on them. If a clot forms and breaks off, a stroke can happen.


The following are some conditions that may make you more likely to clot:

  • Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (lupus anticoagulant or anticardiolipin antibodies)
  • Antithrombin III deficiency
  • Factor V Leiden
  • Protein C and S deficiency
  • Prothrombin gene mutation
Last reviewed: 
August 2017

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