Aspirin has been used for many years to reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems such as stroke and heart attack by cutting down on blood clots, but a University of Florida Health team of researchers has recently found that it may offer little to no benefit for some patients who have plaque built up in their arteries.
“Aspirin therapy is widely used and embraced by cardiologists and general practitioners around the world. This takes a bit of the luster off the use of aspirin,” Anthony Bavry, an associate professor in the UF College of Medicine’s department of medicine and a cardiologist at UF Health and the Malcom Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Gainesville, said in a press release. “The benefit of aspirin is still maintained in acute events like a heart attack or a stroke.”
The study consisted of 33,000 patients 45 years old and older with atherosclerosis, narrowed or hardened arteries. Researchers followed their medical data from 2003 to 2009 and determined that aspirin is somewhat beneficial for patients with history of heart attack, stroke or other blood-flow issues involving arteries, University of Florida Health said in a news release. But researchers observed that among atherosclerosis patients without a prior heart attack or stroke, aspirin had seemingly no benefit; the study results were published in the journal Clinical Cardiology in May, University of Florida Health said.
“The cardiology community needs to appreciate that aspirin deserves ongoing study,” Bavry said. “There are many individuals who may not be deriving a benefit from aspirin. If we can identify those patients and spare them from aspirin, we’re doing a good thing.”