Common medication linked with increased risk of heart failure

Aspirin is in the gun again, with a new study finding that in some cases it could be responsible for one of the things that it is meant to prevent – heart failure.

A study has found that aspirin use is associated with a 26 per cent raised risk of heart failure in people with at least one predisposing factor for the condition.

Dr Blerim Mujaj from the University of Freiburg in Germany said that predisposing factors included smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

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“This is the first study to report that among individuals with a least one risk factor for heart failure, those taking aspirin were more likely to subsequently develop the condition than those not using the medication,” Dr Mujaj said.

“While the findings require confirmation, they do indicate that the potential link between aspirin and heart failure needs to be clarified.”

The influence of aspirin on heart failure is controversial. 

This new study comes on the back of health experts last month calling for an urgent rethink on the way that aspirin was prescribed, amid concerns that those who use the drug daily may be doing themselves more harm than good.

Read: Daily aspirin use may do more harm than good, say experts

YourLifeChoices last year reported on a Monash University-led study that found prolonged daily aspirin use increases the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding by at least 60 per cent in people aged 70 and over.

At that time, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) reported that it could sound the ‘death knell’ of aspirin use as primary prevention.

The University of Freiburg study aimed to evaluate its relationship with heart failure incidence in people with and without heart disease and assess whether using the drug is related to a new heart failure diagnosis in those at risk.

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The 30,287 participants in the study who were considered at risk of developing heart failure were aged 40 years and above (average age of 67) and free of heart failure.

The aspirin use of the participants was recorded when they were enrolled in the study, dividing into users and non-users. These participants were then followed-up for the first incidence of fatal and non-fatal heart failure requiring hospitalisation.

A total of 7698 of the participants were taking aspirin (around 25 per cent).

During the follow-up period of 5.3 years, 1330 of all participants had developed heart failure.

They then discovered that aspirin use was independently associated (after adjusting for other risk factors) with a 26 per cent raised risk of a new heart failure diagnosis.

To check the consistency of the results, the researchers repeated the analysis after matching aspirin users and non-users for heart failure risk factors. In this matched analysis, aspirin was associated with a 26 per cent raised risk of a new heart failure diagnosis.

To check the results further, the analysis was repeated after excluding patients with a history of cardiovascular disease. In 22,690 participants (74 per cent) free of cardiovascular disease, aspirin use was associated with a 27 per cent increased risk of heart failure.

“Our observations suggest that aspirin should be prescribed with caution in those with heart failure or with risk factors for the condition,” Dr Mujaj said.

Do you take aspirin regularly? Are you concerned about all the adverse findings regarding aspirin use lately? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

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Written by Ben



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