Aspirin may increase risk of heart failure, study finds

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Experts say consumers with pre-existing heart conditions need to take note of their findings

While many consumers regularly take aspirin to manage pain, a new study conducted by the researchers from the European Society of Cardiology explored some of the risks associated with the medication. According to their findings, regularly taking aspirin may increase the risk of heart failure

“This is the first study to report that among individuals with at least one risk factor for heart failure, those taking aspirin were more likely to subsequently develop the condition than those not using the medication,” said researcher Dr. Blerim Mujaj. “While the findings require confirmation, they do indicate that the potential link between aspirin and heart failure needs to be clarified.” 

Aspirin may do the opposite of its intended use

For the study, the researchers analyzed data from nearly 31,000 participants enrolled in the Heart ‘Omics’ in AGEing (HOMAGE) database. The group recorded how often they were taking aspirin, and the researchers followed them for more than five years to track their health outcomes. They also evaluated the participants’ health records, including potential risk factors for heart failure and the medications they were taking. 

The team found that 25% of the participants were regularly taking aspirin when the study began, and over 1,300 participants developed heart failure by the end of the study. Overall, taking aspirin was linked with a 26% higher risk of heart failure. 

After taking into account heart failure risk factors -- including high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, smoking, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure -- the researchers learned that having at least one such risk factor was also linked with a 26% higher risk of heart failure. Moving forward, the researchers hope more work can be done in this area to confirm these findings. 

“Large multinational randomized trials in adults at risk for heart failure are needed to verify these results,” Dr. Mujaj said. “Until then, our observations suggest that aspirin should be prescribed with caution in those with heart failure or with risk factors for the condition.” 

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