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Aspirin Benefit in Peripheral Artery Disease Examined

Last Updated: May 12, 2009.

Aspirin therapy does not appear to significantly reduce cardiovascular events in patients with peripheral artery disease, according to a study in the May 13 Journal of the American Medical Association.

TUESDAY, May 12 (HealthDay News) -- Aspirin therapy does not appear to significantly reduce cardiovascular events in patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD), according to a study in the May 13 Journal of the American Medical Association.

Jeffrey S. Berger, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues reviewed randomized controlled trials of aspirin therapy, both with and without dipyridamole, that included patients with PAD. To assess benefits of aspirin therapy in the PAD patients, the researchers analyzed 18 studies in which there were 5,269 participants, and extracted data on cardiovascular events (nonfatal myocardial infarction, nonfatal stroke, and cardiovascular death), as well as all-cause death and major bleeding.

The researchers found that 251 (8.9 percent) of the 2,823 patients taking aspirin therapy, with and without dipyridamole, and 269 (11.0 percent) of 2,446 patients in the control group experienced cardiovascular events. Aspirin therapy was associated with a lower number of nonfatal stroke, but there were no significant reductions in other outcomes, including all-cause death, cardiovascular mortality, myocardial infarction, or major bleeding. For patients taking aspirin alone, there was again a significant reduction in nonfatal stroke, but no significant reductions in the other relevant outcomes.

"In patients with PAD, treatment with aspirin alone or with dipyridamole resulted in a statistically non-significant decrease in the primary end point of cardiovascular events and a significant reduction in nonfatal stroke. Results for the primary end point may reflect limited statistical power," the authors write.

Several of the researchers reported financial and consulting relationships with the pharmaceutical industry, including the BMS-Sanofi-Aventis Partnership and AstraZeneca.

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