July 10, 2006

Aspirin use not seen linked to stroke severity

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - When a stroke occurs, its
severity does not seem to be related to whether the patient had
be taking aspirin previously or not, according to a large,
international study.

"Several reports have suggested that patients who have (a)
stroke while taking aspirin have less severe strokes than those
not on such pretreatment, whereas others have suggested either
no effect or an increase of stroke severity," Dr. Stefano
Ricci, of UOCD Neurologia e Ictus, Perugia, Italy, and
colleagues write in the medical journal Stroke.

To investigate further, they examined the effects of
previous aspirin use on the severity of stroke in patients who
were enrolled in the International Stroke Trial, which tested
the benefits of different treatments after a stroke.

The researchers assessed the association between the
severity of stroke right after it occurred, and the use of
aspirin 3 days before the stroke.

Out of 17,850 stroke patients, 3820 reported previous
aspirin use and 14,030 did not.

A first glance, it looked like previous aspirin use was
tied to greater stroke severity. However, after factoring in
sex, age, stroke type and atrial fibrillation, the researchers
saw that there was no significant relationship between stroke
severity and previous aspirin use.

"The analyses suggest that previously reported positive and
negative associations may well have been attributable to the
play of chance in small samples, confounding or other biases,"
Ricci's team concludes.

SOURCE: Stroke, July 2006.