Daily aspirin may benefit many people without heart disease

In a new study, researchers found the benefits of aspirin may outweigh the risks for many patients without heart disease.

Such patients could be identified by using a personalized benefit-harm analysis, which could inform discussions between doctors and patients.

The research was conducted by a team from the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Aspirin reduces the risk of heart disease in at-risk patients but also increases the risk of bleeding.

It is not clear if the benefits of aspirin outweigh the risks for patients without heart disease.

In the study, the team studied 245,028 persons (43.6 percent women) aged 30 to 79 years without heart disease to identify persons to whom aspirin would be beneficial.

The effect of aspirin was calculated for each participant by subtracting the number of CVD events likely to be prevented from the number of major bleeds likely to be caused over 5 years.

The data were derived from web-based decision support program integrated with electronic primary care practice management systems in New Zealand.

The researchers found that 2.5% of women and 12.1% of men without heart disease were likely to derive benefit from aspirin treatment for 5 years.

These percentages increased to 21%of women and 41% of men when one heart disease event was assumed to be equivalent to two major bleeds.

Researchers caution that the study findings may not apply to populations outside New Zealand.

Also, participants over the age of 79 were not included in the analysis.

Future work is needed to make firm, evidence-based recommendations for aspirin use for primary prevention of heart disease.

The study is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

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