Taking aspirin could prevent heart attacks, stroke and early death, study says
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Heart attack survivors could benefit from taking daily aspirin to promote better health and long life, according to researchers.
Dr Anna Meta Kristensen said: “Our findings suggest that not taking aspirin as prescribed after a heart attack is linked to a higher risk of having another heart attack, a stroke or dying.
“We recommend that all patients who have had a heart attack stay adherent to their aspirin in accordance with guidelines until randomised controlled trials have proven otherwise, and clinical guidelines have been changed.”
Dr Kristensen’s research consisted of data collected from Danish nationwide health registries.
Participants included in the research had a first-time heart attack from 2004 to 2017 and were treated with a coronary stent.
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All patients included in the data were prescribed aspirin during the first year following the heart attack.
Patients who were on anticoagulants, or had a stroke or recurrent heart attack, within the first year of recovery were excluded from the study.
Dr Kristensen, of Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital in Denmark, explained.
“Both anticoagulants and P2Y12 inhibitors are agents that, similar to aspirin, work to prevent the formation of blood clots,” Dr Kristensen said.
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“Therefore, patients undergoing such treatments were excluded from our study.”
For those involved in the study, their adherence to aspirin intake was evaluated at two, four, six and eight years after the heart attack.
In Denmark, every time a patient picks up a prescription of aspirin, the date of collection is recorded in registries, which informed the data results.
Dr Kristensen added: “We assessed the effects of long-term aspirin use in patients who were not receiving other medications for the prevention of heart attack or stroke.”
General adherence to aspirin intake gradually decreased over the years, the researchers noted.
However, while taking into account other factors – such as age, blood pressure, and cholesterol – the research team still found that aspirin usage reduces the risk of another heart attack, stroke, or death.
Dr Kristensen said: “Our results should be interpreted with caution because they show an association but do not establish causality.
“Furthermore, our findings cannot be generalised to all patients who experience a heart attack, as our study specifically focused on those who received treatment with a coronary stent and they were not taking other medications to prevent blood clot formation.”
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