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Aspirin can be a life saver: Australian researchers

09-14-2010 13:51 BJT

CANBERRA, Sept. 14. (Xinhua) -- Australian researchers on Tuesday weighed into the aspirin debate, with a study showing the humble painkiller can save lives and significantly reduce rates of stroke and heart attack.

Dr Meg Jardine from the George Institute for Global Health said there has been "uncertainty" over whether the analgesic, which has blood-thinning properties, should be used more broadly to combat cardiovascular disease.

"Until now there's been no clear evidence that aspirin therapy benefits people at high risk of heart disease and stroke, including those with chronic kidney disease," Sydney-based Dr Jardine said on Tuesday.

"This has led to uncertainty about whether to recommend aspirin therapy."

However, Dr Jardine and her fellow researchers analyzed data from an international study of over 18,000 people with high blood pressure aged between 50 and 80 - about 20 percent of whom had mild to moderate Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).

It showed that daily aspirin use over a four-year window could prevent 54 deaths, 40 strokes and 40 non-fatal heart attacks for every 1,000 people with kidney disease.

There was a particular benefit for people who had survived one heart attack or stroke, as daily aspirin was shown to help stave off a recurrence.

It is aspirin's record as a relatively safe, and the most widely used, analgesic drug that has seen it touted as a possible preventive medication but that does not mean it is without risk.

Dr Jardine also took into account the increased number, and severity, of internal bleeding cases that would occur as the downside of its blood-thinning side-effects.

"We found the cost for preventing deaths and reducing the incidence of heart attacks and strokes was that there would be an additional 27 major and 12 minor bleeds in every 1,000 people with CKD taking aspirin," Dr Jardine told ABC News.

"On balance it reveals the benefits outweigh the harms."

Dr Jardine will present her research at the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nephrology annual scientific meeting in Perth, on Tuesday. This study is published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: Xinhua

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