Friday, May 15, 2009

Stroke Risk Of Peripheral Artery Disease Cut With Aspirin

A new study suggests that aspirin may cut the risk of stroke in patients with peripheral artery disease.

Although aspirin is effective in the prevention of cardiovascular events in patients with symptomatic coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease, its effect in patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD) has been uncertain.

To determine the effect of aspirin on cardiovascular event rates in patients with PAD, lead researcher Dr Jeffrey S. Berger, of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate available evidence from randomized controlled trials of aspirin therapy, with or without dipyridamole (an antiplatelet agent), that reported cardiovascular event rates.

"Results of this meta-analysis demonstrated that for patients with PAD, aspirin therapy alone or in combination with dipyridamole did not significantly decrease the primary end point of cardiovascular events, results that may reflect limited statistical power," wrote the authors.

Even though aspirin use is associated with a statistically nonsignificant decrease in the risk of a group of combined cardiovascular events but is associated with a significant reduction in the risk of one of these events, nonfatal stroke.

"Larger prospective studies of aspirin and other antiplatelet agents are warranted among patients with PAD in order to draw firm conclusions about clinical benefit and risks," the authors added.

The study appears in the issue of JAMA.


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