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Aspirin, Statins May Reduce Problems After Heart Surgery
Date:10/19/2010

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Oct. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who took aspirin before heart surgery suffered fewer heart attacks, stroke and other problems after their operations, and those given statins had better survival rates, two new studies find.

In the aspirin study, researchers identified 1,148 patients undergoing bypass, valve or other scheduled cardiac surgeries. Of those, 860 were taking aspirin in the five days before the surgery and 288 were not taking aspirin.

During the 30 days after surgery, nearly 13 percent of patients not taking aspirin experienced a heart attack, stroke or other major cardiac event, compared to only 8.6 percent in the aspirin group, the researchers found.

Aspirin also seemed to stave off post-surgery kidney failure, said senior study author Dr. Jian-Zhong Sun, an associate professor of anesthesiology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

About 3.8 percent of those taking aspirin experienced kidney failure after surgery, compared to 7 percent not taking aspirin.

"At this time, we still don't have a proven therapy to prevent the major complications involving the heart, brain and kidney that are common after cardiac surgery," Sun said. "Aspirin looks like a simple and promising drug to prevent some major complications."

Many Americans with cardiovascular disease take low-dose aspirin (81 milligrams/day). But the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology recommends patients stop taking aspirin before major surgery, including heart surgery, because aspirin can increase the risk of excessive bleeding and the need for blood transfusions, Sun pointed out.

More research needs to be done before he would recommend changing those guidelines, Sun added.

"If confirmed in other studies, particularly if we can proceed to a randomized clinical trial that shows aspirin does not increase the bleeding, then at
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