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Aspirin’s Usefulness in Atherosclerosis Patients

Acetylsalicylic acid, more commonly known as aspirin, is widely used in the United States and around the globe.  It is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat a variety of medical issues, such as fever, pain, and inflammatory diseases. Aspirin is also taken daily by many people who have had cardiovascular issues in the past, particularly a heart attack or are at high risk. There is some debate in the scientific community as to whether its use is beneficial if you are not in a high risk population. Researchers at the University of Florida College of Medicine aimed to better understand the benefits of aspirin use as a preventative medication. Their observational study involved determining the benefits of aspirin use for patients with atherosclerosis—a medical condition that describes the hardening and narrowing of arteries over time.

The research study involved 33,000 patients and compared those who had a previous heart attack, stroke, or other issues that involved arteries with those who had not. Of the 33,000 patients, 21,000 had experienced one of the conditions listed. The included patients from this group were all at least 45 years of age and their data was collected from 2003 to 2009 by another nationwide medical study.

The team’s results showed that among patients with atherosclerosis, aspirin had marginal to no benefits for reducing the risk of future cardiac events. In the group that had a prior heart attack, stroke, or other issues, those who used aspirin experienced a marginally lower risk of further cardiovascular death, heart attack, or stroke. For those with atherosclerosis, but no prior cardiac issues described previously, the results showed no benefit to the medication’s use. Their risk was 10.7%, while the risk for non-aspirin users was 10.5%.

This study prompts further research including controlled clinical studies.  The team’s findings were published in the journal Clinical Cardiology.

To read more about their research and view an informational video, follow this link.

Editor: Ramneet Chauhan