A client who has been taking Coumadin (warfarin) was stabbed in the upper arm. His prothrombin time is over twice the normal amount. The nurse anticipates an order for

  1. fresh frozen plasma
  2. whole blood
  3. platelets
  4. packed red blood cells
Number 1 is correct.
Rationale: Prothrombin time is a measure of the clotting tendency of the blood. Since warfarin is an anticoagulant, this client is at an increased risk for hemorrhage. Clients who are taking warfarin and are in an emergency situation where they are actively bleeding can be given fresh frozen plasma to quickly reverse the effects of warfarin and reach homeostasis. Red blood cell transfusions are utilized to treat hemorrhage. Platelets are used to prevent hemorrhage in patients with thrombocytopenia or platelet function defects.