Aspirin can cut death rates in postmenopausal women with cardiovascular disease

Aspirin can significantly reduce death rates for postmenopausal women with cardiovascular disease (CVD), researchers reported at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2005.

"It was known before, and we have shown it again: aspirin therapy is a lifesaving therapy," said Jeffery S. Berger, M.D., lead author and cardiology fellow at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. "Women with cardiovascular disease should be on aspirin unless there is a medical contraindication such as hypersensitivity or gastrointestinal intolerance."

Data from nearly 9,000 women with CVD demonstrated that those taking aspirin had significantly lower risk of cardiovascular death as well as from all causes of death, compared to women who did not take the over-the-counter drug.

Women with CVD (8,928) enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study, a longitudinal multicenter study of 93,676 women aged 50 to 79 years at baseline, were used for this analysis. The primary outcome was the incidence of cardiovascular events, which included heart attack, stroke, cardiovascular death and all-cause mortality.

Among the 8,928 women with stable CVD, 46 percent reported taking aspirin, of whom 30 percent were on 81mg and 70 percent were on 325mg. Six and a half years after enrolling in the Women's Health Initiative's (WHI) Observational Study, 956 of the women with CVD had died.

During 6.5 years of follow-up, 8.7 percent of participants died when compared to the no aspirin group, both 81mg and 325mg groups were associated with a 17 percent reduction in all-cause mortality and a 25 percent lower death rate from all cardiovascular diseases.

For the prevention of cardiovascular events, both 81mg and 325mg were associated with a non-significant 11 percent reduction in stroke, no effect on MI, and a non-significant reduction in events. Compared to 325mg, treatment with 81mg was not significantly different in its effect on all-cause mortalit

Contact: Carole Bullock or Karen Astle
American Heart Association

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