Coagcheck testing

Having bought the INR test unit I have had quite an issue getting the blood onto the test strips, I have called Roache three times and had them guide me through the process, and each time they found a new issue! I did eventually get a none error 5! but apparently even that result was not perfect because I got the blood onto the stip at the top end of the 15 seconds allowed! I have 2 stips left from the two packs supplied , with only one " Acceptable" result so far could be an expensive testing regime, I will report as I proceed. Herefordshire's policy is not to prescribe the strip!! anyone else having problems?

19 Replies

  • Yes, me. I'll have to buy my own strips - when I take the plunge and buy the gadget and all the bits.

    Good (but not good) to know that it might not be that simple!

  • I had all those problems when I first starting self testing over a year ago.I went through quite a lot of strips before I got the hang of it. Originally thought it was faulty strips or faulty machine -expensive mistakes.

    I very rarely get an error message now and if I do it's my error.

    There is a knack to dripping the blood onto the strip and it will become much easier over time . I don't think Roche explain how to load the strips very well but it's like many things,it takes practise and only you can do that.

    Do keep persevering ,although expensive the peace of mind is priceless.

    My health authority (Berkshire ) will not provide strips either so each wasted strip does cost a lot of money.

    Good luck.


  • Don't use one myself but the practise does and I was surprised that the blood needs to go on the underside of the strip not on top. At least that is what it looks like when the girl does it for me.


  • Hi Bob

    Unless your practise uses a different type of machine to the Coaguchek machine we are all using I doubt if the blood goes on the underside of the strip. The blood drop drips straight on to the topside of the strip which is already inserted into the machine .


  • O K must be a different machine as they use a spring loaded pricker to prick the finger and then and they scrape the finger over the strip ( or strip over the finger) which is then inserted into the machine. Some gets squeezed onto the top and some (most) on the underside of the strip. I'm on 84 days and my next is 15th Sept so it may be a while before I can see what the machine is.

  • Thinking about it I have an idea they put the strip into the machine and then scrape across my finger holding the machine. It is such a non event for me I never take much notice but will next time.

  • Your second post seems more plausible and about right.Let us know how it's done when you next go for a check.


  • Yes I had problems too. It helps if I place the machine on an angle slightly overlapping a surface. My kitchen surface is the right height. Also I find it easier if I use my little or ring finger. Your hands are better warm as well. You probably will waste a good few strips to start but it is well worth it in the end. I had to have a surgical procedure recently and because I could self test it was easy to make sure my I.N.R. was stable without constantly going to the doctor. I took my machine to the hospital on the day of the procedure so the health professional could see for themselves.x

  • Like dedeottie i have mine very near the edge of the kitchen counter, i get everything prepared, first putting the lancet into it's pen, then I take put the strip from the canister, but not pushing it all the way in to the machine, and get the cotton wool ball ready. Then when I am ready to do the test, I push the strip in, and after checking the number is correct and pressing the button I start to gently massage my thumb to get the blood to move to the end of the finger. As soon as it beeps I stab the thumb, (I have the lancet pen set to number 5) then massage from the base of the thumb to get the blood to run from the puncture site. Stop as soon as it beeps, and wait for the reading.

    i think most people waste a few of the strips to start with, I know I did, but now it's so easy.

  • yes I had problems the first day like you and the Coaguechek staff talked me through it.

    If you stand over the machine and run your hand under hot water first it is easier to get a large enough drop and get it on the right place!! Make sure you don't touch the strip but let the blood drop onto it!!

    You'll find it easy once you are used to it!!

  • Fuzzflyer,

    I've used Coaguchek XS for 4 years without any problems at all. The strip can only go in one way, that's with the half circle face up. Get the pricker mechanism - puncture the finger - then massage the finger and simply aim the drop of blood onto the half circle. This presupposes you have got the drop of blood icon on the screen in the first place - that's the clue when to start. When the drop of blood has registered you get a QC and tick. Then just wait for the result. When you load the strip you have to wait for it to 'warm up'.


  • I agree with most others - I had problems in the beginning but once I got the hang of it I rarely wasted any more strips. I found the most difficult thing was getting the blood to flow and I was attempting to get it on the strip too soon.

    Warm your hands, massage them and press the lancet pretty hard onto the side of your finger. Then don't rush. Continue to massage finger gently and wait until you have a good size drop before attempting to get it onto the strip.

    Also put the machine at an angle so that the strip is conveniently placed.

    Good luck and I am sure you will get the hang of it soon - assuming the machine is not faulty. Marie

  • Just like everyone else I wasted so many strips at first and I too have to buy my own in spite of campaigning to have them available on prescription in Dorset. I use the capillary method as per the instruction leaflet and find this easier than trying to aim a drop in the semi circle. Certainly wouldn't be without my machine now. I'm much more confident being in control and knowing I'm in range and it's invaluable when travelling. Good luck, Liz

  • Hi Fuzzflyer. Yes you have my sympathies. It can be very frustrating when the blood doesn't flow, not to mention Expensive! I keep my Coagucheck in its case in the carboard box it came in when the weather is cooler. That way the machine doesn't get too cold and take time to warm up. The next thing I do is to wash my hands in as hot water as I can for a few minutes to get the blood in my hands moving around. Sometimes I give them a little flap around to make sure the blood is circulating in the fingers. Then I get the lancet (I find the lancet holder providerd a bit pathetic but I may be a bit thick on how to use it Properly). If there is still only a small droplet I hold the finger at the side of the strip in such a way that the blood enters sideways and moves to the centre of the strip. Hopefully if you get your hands warmed up the blood will be flowing nicely and you can just drop your blood on top of the strip. Strips can also give error readings when they are too hot or too cold. I have been using my machine happily for some years now but still get error readings occasionally. My local NHS hospital Trust won't allow self testing so funding the strips yourself can be quite expensive. Don't worry you will be an expert very soon!

  • Yes ,I'd read keep the strips cool... so I put them in the fridge! not good the lady roache speak..

  • Hi fuzzyflyer,

    I have been using the CoaguChek and then the CoaguChek XS for around 13 years now. With the original CoaguChek the test strips had to be kept in a fridge and wasn't very convenient since I was traveling around a lot at the time. I upgraded to the CoaguChek XS when it came out and found it much more convenient since the test strips don't need to be kept in a fridge. When I first got mine, a nurse from Roche Diagnostics, visited to show me how to use the machine. One important piece of advise she gave me was to place my hand in hot water just prior to doing the test. This causes the blood to flow near the surface of your finger and hence makes it easier to get the drop of blood for the test strip. One important change with the XS is that you do not have to drop the blood in the centre of the strip. You only have to apply the drop of blood to the side of the strip and wait for the Beep that lets you know when enough blood has been applied. Also, with the XS strips it doesn't matter if your finger touches the side of the strip while you are applying the drop of blood. The only time I have problems, and waste a strip, is when my INR is getting down towards 2.2 - 2.0, when it gets a wee bit more difficult to get a big enough drop.

    I get my test strips on prescription, no problem. As I've said before on this subject, our NHS is not really a nationwide NHS with the same rules for everyone. From reading posts on here, there certainly seems to be very large variations depending on where you live in the country. I'm in Central Scotland and as I said no problems here. I also self manage my warfarin dosing and my GP is quite happy with that. Only have one annual hospital check to make sure that I am staying reasonably in range. I also have the unit for downloading the results to my laptop, so I can take a print-out of my results over the year.

    Hope this long-winded post is of some help.


  • Hiya Walter,

    Yeah I agree - Health Service it may be (but even then sometimes I question the use of the word service - but never mind) national it most certainly is not. I am sure (apart from the postcode lottery) that these Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG's) have a devious system in place to restrict the use of self testing devices. When I lived in Surrey nothing was a problem - now I'm in Cornwall ( a much poorer county generally) its a battle all the time. Having said that at least my GP does/will prescribe the test strips for me.

    You mention something about ' a unit for downloading results to your laptop'. What is that if I may ask ?


  • Hi John,

    It's called the CoaguChek XS Connect, available from Roche Diagnostics. I saw it on the Roche Diagnostics stand at the patients day at Birmingham, when I was there 3 years ago, and ordered one. It plugs in to a USB socket and you then place the Infra Red sensor on the unit near the sensor on the CoaguChek. The program that comes with it then allows you to download all the info from the CoaguChek memory to the laptop. You can then print out reports showing when you have been in or out of range both as a graph or list. I find it very useful, especially for my yearly visits to Heamatology. It lets them see at a glance what my INR has been up to without having to flick through pages and pages in my yellow book. Can't remember the cost. If I went back through my credit card statements around 3 years ago I might find it.

    On your first comments, I suppose we might have a SHS, depending on what happens on 18th September.(dread the thought)


  • Hello Walter, very many thanks for that info - I'll look into that. Sadly I don't get to the Birmingham patients day, a bit of a long haul from just outside Penzance and I work every Saturday and Mondays ( and often more days). Up till now I've been using an Aussie software to record my data and whilst it is good it has limits. The same software manufacturing company (My Health Software) also produce software to record blood pressure and other conditions. Yes, that magic date in September ..... Hmmmmm !

    Apologies for the delay in getting back to you with my thanks.


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