August 29, 2005

Aspirin use desirable before heart surgery-study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Taking aspirin before heart bypass
surgery may help patients recover and survive better,
researchers said on Monday.

They said their study, published in the journal
Circulation, should reassure surgeons who have advised patients
to avoid taking aspirin in the days before surgery because they
feared it could cause bleeding.

"Aspirin reduces clotting of the blood, so it can help
prevent a heart attack or stroke by making it less likely a
clot will form and block an already narrowed artery," said Dr.
Scott Wright, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester,
Minnesota, who led the study.

"However, many surgeons who are concerned about excessive
bleeding due to inadequate clotting have advised their patients
to stop taking aspirin in the days before their operation. We
designed this study to provide guidance on whether continuing
aspirin therapy in the days before surgery is beneficial or

They studied 1,636 patients getting heart bypass surgery in
2000, 2001 and 2002.

They found that 1.7 percent of those patients who took
aspirin in the five days before surgery died in the hospital
afterwards, compared to 4.4 percent of those who did not.

Those who took aspirin did not have a greater risk of
excessive internal bleeding, Wright's team found.

"The study further confirms aspirin's benefits for patients
with known cardiovascular disease. It also shows there is no
increased risk of bleeding, which eliminates the main reason
why physicians and surgeons would ask patients to discontinue
aspirin therapy," Wright said.