Is Low-Dose Aspirin Right for You After Surgery?

From Drugs.com - November 14, 2017

Is Low-Dose Aspirin Right for You After Surgery?

TUESDAY, Nov. 14, 2017 -- Each year, millions of American heart patients go "under the knife" for various kinds of surgery. Often they are told to take a low-dose aspirin, to help lower their odds for a post-op blood clot.

But does that practice reduce the risk of additional heart problems?

A new study says yes. Giving low-dose aspirin after surgeries unrelated to heart problems -- things like knee replacements, cancer surgeries or a myriad of other operations -- reduces the risk of heart attack and death in people who have previously had artery-opening angioplasty.

The new study was led by Dr. P.J. Devereaux, of McMaster University in London, Ontario, Canada. The team pointed out that the safety of post-op aspirin was cast into doubt following the results of an earlier clinical trial of more than 10,000 people who received low-dose aspirin after a non-cardiac surgery.

That trial found that low-dose aspirin after such a surgery did not prevent a heart attack or death, but it did increase the risk of major bleeding for patients.

But Devereaux's team noted that a subset of patients who already had heart disease -- as evidenced by prior angioplasties -- were not looked at separately.

That's what the authors of this new study did, focusing on the 470 patients who had previously undergone angioplasty.

In these patients, use of low-dose aspirin after non-cardiac surgery did cut their risk for nonfatal heart attack and death, Devereaux's group concluded.

In fact, compared to similar patients who did not get post-surgery aspirin, the risk for heart attack and/or death fell by half.

However, the risk of major bleeding in patients who took low-dose aspirin remained unclear, according to the study published Nov. 14 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.


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