From the Journals

Daily aspirin linked to increased risk of heart failure



Daily aspirin is associated with new onset heart failure independent of other risk factors, according to data derived from a database with follow-up from more than 30,000 patients who did not have HF when they were enrolled.

Open bottle of aspirin spilling onto table Patrice Wendling/MDedge News

These data are not relevant to primary or secondary prevention of cardiovascular events but “refer only to starting aspirin for secondary prevention of HF in patients at high risk of HF or with symptomatic HF,” according to the senior investigator, Jan A. Staessen, MD, PhD, professor emeritus at the University of Leuven (Belgium).

In data from 30,827 patients at risk for HF enrolled in six observational studies, the hazard ratio (HR) for developing HF among those taking daily aspirin at baseline relative to those who were not was 1.26 (P ≤ .001) over 5.3 years of follow-up. In the 22,690 patients without a prior history cardiovascular disease (CVD), the HF risk increase for exposure to daily aspirin was about the same (HR 1.27; P = .001).

This study was launched because multiple conflicting studies have made the relationship between aspirin and HF risk unclear, according to the multinational team of authors, whose finding were published in ESC Heart Failure.

In principle, HF is recognized as a prothrombotic condition for which an antithrombotic therapy such as aspirin would be expected to have a protective role, but the investigators pointed out that the evidence is mixed. In a population-based Danish study of 12,277 patients with new-onset HF, for example, there was no relationship seen between aspirin use and a reduction in the composite outcome of all-cause mortality, myocardial infarction, or stroke.

Aspirin use linked to HF admissions

“Interestingly, this study reported that aspirin use was associated with an increased risk of readmissions for HF,” wrote the authors of the newly published data. “Uncertainty on aspirin use has been reflected in current guideline recommendations,” they added.

The population studied was drawn from the HOMAGE database, which has collated data on 46,437 participants in 21 studies. After the exclusion of studies with patients who already had HF as well as studies without information on HF incidence over time, six studies with 30,827 participants provided the basis for this analysis.

One study, ASCOT, which was randomized and blinded, served as the derivation data set. The remaining five studies, FLEMENGHO, HEALTH ABC, HULL LIFE LAB, PREDICTOR, and PROSPER, served as the validation data set.

In addition to identifying participants as aspirin users or nonusers at baseline, all of the studies had detailed baseline data on a wide variety of patient characteristics and risk factors, such as body mass index, blood cholesterol levels, blood glucose concentrations, blood pressure, and creatinine.

No patient in any trial was on an antithrombotic therapy other than aspirin at baseline.

Of the minority of patients with CVD at baseline, more than 80% had coronary heart disease. Only 2.8% of the total population had a prior myocardial infarction. In the study population overall, most (86%) had hypertension, and there was a sizeable proportion with diabetes (22%). The average age was 67 years, and 34% were women.


Next Article: