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

that time we can make a recommendation to change the practice guidelines," Sun said.

In the study, patients taking aspirin did not have a higher rate of readmission due to infection, bleeding or fluid accumulation in the chest and around the heart, Sun reported.

The patients taking aspirin also tended to be older, and more likely to have hypertension, diabetes, peripheral artery disease and a history of coronary artery disease. Even though the aspirin group was on balance sicker than the non-aspirin group, they still did better, Sun noted.

"This corroborates other research that shows, as simple as it seems, aspirin is effective," said Dr. Vincent Bufalino, president and CEO of Midwest Heart Specialists outside Chicago.

In a second study, researchers in Finland found that patients who were not taking statins before undergoing coronary bypass surgery were twice as likely to die as people who were taking the cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Researchers identified 1,034 patients aged 42 to 81 undergoing bypass surgery. Of those, 703 were prescribed statins before surgery while 331 were not.

About 2.7 percent of patients given statins died in the month following surgery, compared to about 5.1 percent of those not given statins.

During the year after surgery, about 4 percent of those given statins died, compared to nearly 11 percent of those not taking statins, the researchers reported.

Statins are a widely prescribed class of drugs designed to lower cholesterol. For heart patients, cholesterol-lowering isn't necessarily the aim, Bufalino said. Research has shown statins can also reduce inflammation that can lead to blood clots, which can cause heart attacks and stroke.

It's common practice at U.S. hospitals for cardiac surgery patients to be prescribed statins before leaving the hospital, Bufalino said.

"There's been pretty convincing evidence that treating these people early and treating them regardles
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