The idea that aspirin, prescribed as a blood-thinning drug, may be dangerous for people with heart failure isn’t new, but the most recent data analysis suggests that there’s no reason for concern. From the New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center, experts put to rest the connection between aspirin and increased risk of heart failure events.
“One challenge in cardiology is that we may need to use many drugs, including two or three blood thinners,” explained co-author Susan Graham from the University of Buffalo. “We always want to be sure we're helping patients, not creating problems.”
The newest study is based on the 10-year Warfarin and Aspirin for Reduced Cardiac Ejection Fraction (WARCEF) trial, the largest of its kind, which ultimately found that neither aspirin nor warfarin is better for preventing risk of death, stroke, and cerebral hemorrhage in heart failure patients with normal heart rhythms.
The study examined data from over two thousand heart failure patients from with normal heart rhythms but reduced ejection fraction, meaning their hearts failed to pump an adequate amount of oxygen-rich blood to the body. The study’s participants included individuals from 11 countries and three continents.
Looking back at the 2012 WARCEF trial data, scientists now also conclude that aspirin does not increase heart failure events in heart failure patients taking first-line heart failure drugs, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs).
"Up to 40 percent of Americans take aspirin, and in heart failure patients, this number may be even higher," Graham said. "It's a great relief to learn that aspirin is safe for this population.”
Healthcare providers often instruct their patients to take daily low-dose aspirin because it can prevent blood clots from forming, subsequently preventing heart attacks and strokes.
"Knowledge that aspirin is safe could have implications extending beyond the world of heart failure since ACE inhibitors are also used as a front-line therapy for hypertension and diabetes.”
The present study as published in JACC: Heart Failure.