Is low-dose aspirin right for you after surgery?

November 14, 2017

(HealthDay)—Each year, millions of American heart patients go "under the knife" for various kinds of surgery. Often they're 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 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've 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 .

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 for .

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 did cut their risk for nonfatal heart attack and death, Devereaux's group concluded.

In fact, compared to similar patients who didn't get post-surgery aspirin, the risk for 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.

One heart specialist called the findings "terrific and important."

If these findings are replicated in a larger, well-designed trial, "we may in fact be able to prevent significant number of cardiovascular illnesses and deaths," said Dr. Maja Zaric, an interventional cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Dr. Avneet Singh is an interventional cardiologist at Northwell Health's Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. He noted that the use of low-dose aspirin is already "mandatory" for patients who've had certain heart surgeries.

Also, "it's been seen that those patients who have prior stents tend to have higher risk of heart attacks at the time of undergoing other surgeries—and may reduce this risk," Singh added.

The new study confirms a "clear benefit" to this strategy, he said, and should influence physician guidelines going forward.

Explore further: Aspirin can prevent heart attacks after noncardiac surgery in patients with prior PCI

More information: Maja Zaric, M.D., interventional cardiologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Avneet Singh, M.D., interventional cardiologist, Northwell Health's Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital, Manhasset, N.Y.; Annals of Internal Medicine, news release, Nov. 13, 2017

The American College of Surgeons outlines how to prepare for surgery and recovery.

Related Stories

Aspirin can prevent heart attacks after noncardiac surgery in patients with prior PCI

November 14, 2017
A Canadian-led study has found that perioperative aspirin can prevent heart-related complications after major noncardiac surgery in patients with previous percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) such as an angioplasty or ...

Quitting daily aspirin therapy may increase second heart attack, stroke risk

September 25, 2017
Stopping long-term, low-dose aspirin therapy may increase your risk of suffering a cardiovascular event, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.

Major bleeds rise with perioperative aspirin for non-cardiac surgery

March 31, 2014
Patients given aspirin to prevent heart problems after non-heart-related surgery had a higher risk of serious bleeding than the patients who did not receive aspirin. At the same time, aspirin did not reduce incidence of post-operative ...

Research reveals aspirin is safe for heart surgery patients

February 25, 2016
A worldwide study led by Monash University clinician-researchers shows that patients who take aspirin before heart surgery are at no greater risk of bleeding or complications. 

Aspirin does little or nothing for hard arteries, researchers find

June 5, 2017
For decades, aspirin has been widely used to reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems. Now, a team led by a University of Florida Health researcher has found that aspirin may provide little or no benefit for certain patients ...

Benefit of aspirin after A-fib ablation questioned

September 4, 2017
(HealthDay)—For atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation patients undergoing their index ablation, long-term aspirin therapy is associated with increased rates of bleeding and may not lower risk of stroke, according to a study ...

Recommended for you

New model suggests cuffless, non-invasive blood pressure monitoring possible using pulse waves

October 16, 2018
A large team of researchers from several institutions in China and the U.S. has developed a model that suggests it should be possible to create a cuffless, non-invasive blood pressure monitor based on measuring pulse waves. ...

Why heart contractions are weaker in those with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

October 16, 2018
When a young athlete suddenly dies of a heart attack, chances are high that they suffer from familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Itis the most common genetic heart disease in the US and affects an estimated 1 in 500 ...

Novel genetic study sheds new light on risk of heart attack

October 12, 2018
Loss of a protein that regulates mitochondrial function can greatly increase the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack), Vanderbilt scientists reported Oct. 3 in the journal eLife.

Researchers say ritual for orthodox Jewish men may offer heart benefits

October 11, 2018
A pilot study led by researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine suggests Jewish men who practice wearing tefillin, which involves the tight wrapping of an arm with leather banding as part of daily ...

Markers of dairy fat consumption linked to lower risk of type two diabetes

October 10, 2018
Higher levels of biomarkers of dairy fat consumption are associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to new research published today in PLOS Medicine. The study, in more than 60,000 adults, was undertaken ...

Seed oils are best for LDL cholesterol

October 9, 2018
If you want to lower your low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, called LDL or, colloquially, "bad cholesterol," the research is clear about one thing: You should exchange saturated fats with unsaturated fat. If you want to ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.