New Studies Cause Me to Ask: Should I Take Aspirin?

Recent media attention to 3 studies has called into question our recommendations for many of you to take aspirin. I can understand your confusion. But we are not at all confused by this.

These studies do not seek the kind of detail about participants that we have about our patients. The participants were defined as “primary prevention” which was defined as “no history of heart attack, stroke or other events caused by atherosclerosis.” They did not look for atherosclerosis lurking in the shadows with the higher risk of a future event. This group included many we would consider to be “secondary prevention” meaning you have atherosclerotic plaque but no event. We use ultrasound and coronary calcium scores to detect this silent stalker.

Our patients with atherosclerotic plaque should take aspirin (unless it has caused bleeding or gastrointestinal irritation in the past) to lessen the impact should plaque become unstable and result in an event. See When a Heart Attack Happens

This recommendation also holds for those who have had a heart attack, stroke, TIA, stent, bypass surgery or carotid surgery. These studies do not dispute the benefit for these individuals. They call them “secondary prevention” while we call them “tertiary prevention.” Whatever they are called, the goal is prevent another event.

Our Process digs deeper than standard care and personalizes recommendations based on more data about you than would be known without that effort. We do that because we think you are worth a personalized and optimal approach. Our satisfied patients agree!