Heart patients needed for aspirin research study

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Aspirin has been a literal life saver for many people with heart disease, both in emergencies and as part of a daily regimen. A new research study seeks to make aspirin even better at preventing potential heart attacks.

Researchers at Ohio State Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital are recruiting 500 local heart disease patients to be part of the nationwide study, which has a total enrollment goal of 15,000 people.

The study will examine which dose of aspirin is safer and more effective: low-dose (81 mg), also known as “baby aspirin,” or regular strength (325 mg).

Brent Lampert, DO, a cardiologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, hopes the study will provide doctors with better information to treat patients.

“We’ve known for decades that aspirin is effective, but if we can zero in on the ideal dose for every patient, then we can better prevent heart attacks or strokes in patients,” says Dr. Lampert.

The study will be conducted almost entirely online and encompasses 30 hospitals around the nation. Ohio State Wexner Medical Center is the only location in the state participating.

How does aspirin prevent a heart attack?

Aspirin prevents your blood platelets from clotting. This clotting action stops your paper cut from bleeding for hours by plugging up the spot of the wound. However, this same clotting can happen within the vessels leading to your heart. Such a blockage causes a heart attack. By reducing the clotting action of platelets, aspirin can help guard against heart attacks.

For the millions of Americans with heart disease, doctors will recommend aspirin treatment, but there is not consensus for either the 81 or 325 mg dose. Moreover, the most recent American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Guideline Recommendations do not specify a preferred dose of aspirin due to the relative lack of information from research about which dose balances the benefits with the known risks of bleeding. 

Is it safe to take aspirin every day?

Aspirin is frequently used in patients with and without cardiovascular disease to reduce the risk of a heart attack and death. It is generally quite safe, but its benefits occur at the expense of potential major bleeding. The decision to take daily aspirin should be made on an individual basis under supervision of your doctor.

How will this research study help patients in the future?

Julie Ryan, clinical research manager, is assisting the recruitment of trial participants at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. Ryan says if doctors better understand the proper dosage of aspirin, the best treatment plan can be implemented faster for at-risk patients.

“If we can observe trends that suggest when one dose should be used instead of the other in certain populations, then we can eliminate the ‘trial and error’ strategy for those groups of patients.”

Results from this trial will provide the first large-scale, high-quality data that will help inform future decisions regarding the best aspirin dose for patients with cardiovascular disease.

Your doctors will then be able to apply this information to make the best individual treatment decision for you.

Who is eligible to participate in this research study?

Anyone currently taking aspirin daily with a known heart disease and one other risk factor, such as high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity or smoking.

Click here to learn more about the study or how you can get involved.

For more information, you can email this address: cardiovascular.research@osumc.edu.

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