News | March 18, 2009

Partnership for Prevention Advocates Daily Aspirin Use to Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke

March 18, 2009 - The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) found that regular aspirin use reduces first heart attacks in men and first strokes in women and recommends daily aspirin use for certain patient populations.
The recommendation applies to men between the ages of 45 and 79 and to women 55 to 79. Aspirin should be used when the benefits outweigh the harms for potential gastrointestinal bleeding.
The new recommendation underscores the importance of healthcare providers discussing aspirin use with patients. A 2007 study sponsored by the American College of Preventive Medicine found that the factor most strongly associated with appropriate aspirin use is a conversation about aspirin between a patient and healthcare provider. The recommendation will help clinicians assess individuals' risk for heart disease and stroke, and it gives clinicians guidance about age- and gender-specific benefits and harms of aspirin use.
A separate study by Partnership for Prevention found that if 90 percent of people who could benefit from aspirin actually took the daily dose, an additional 45,000 lives would be saved each year.
The National Committee for Quality Assurance, which measures the quality of care provided by health plans, recently recognized that aspirin use is effective in reducing cardiovascular events. To encourage appropriate aspirin use, NCQA has proposed that health plans measure their members' use of aspirin as well as the extent to which clinicians discuss aspirin use with patients.
Partnership for Prevention has established a Task Force on Appropriate Aspirin Use to encourage appropriate use of aspirin to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
"The updated USPSTF recommendation emphasizes the importance of considering the potential benefits and downsides of using aspirin for cardiovascular prevention. It's clear that discussing aspirin use with patients in the targeted age groups should become standard practice for clinicians," said Michael Pignone, M.D., a member of Partnership's Task Force and chief of general internal medicine at the University of North Carolina.
Partnership for Prevention is a non-partisan, non-profit organization of business, healthcare, and government leaders who are working to make disease prevention and health promotion a higher priority in the nation's health policies and programs
Source: Partnership for Prevention
For more information: www.prevent.org

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