Features April 2012 Issue

Seek Your Cardiologist’s Approval Before Taking Daily Aspirin

If primary prevention of heart attack is the goal, aspirin may do more harm than good.

If you have suffered a heart attack or stroke, or have had an invasive coronary procedure such as bypass surgery or stenting, your doctor may recommend you take a daily aspirin. Studies show that aspirin can be effective in preventing a second cardiovascular event (“secondary prevention”). However, if you don’t have advanced cardiovascular disease, evidence supporting the likelihood that aspirin will prevent a first heart attack (“primary prevention”) is inconclusive. For men of all ages, there appears to be a benefit in taking aspirin to prevent a first or second heart attack, and to generally reduce the risk of heart disease.

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