September 12, 2014 — The first researcher in the world to discover that aspirin prevents a first attack, Charles H. Hennekens, M.D., Dr.P.H., the first Sir Richard Doll professor and senior academic advisor to the dean in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University, has published a comprehensive review in the current issue of the journal Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine. Hennekens and his coauthor James E. Dalen, M.D., M.P.H., executive director of the Weil Foundation and dean emeritus, University of Arizona College of Medicine, provide the most updated information on aspirin in the prevention of a first heart attack. Hennekens also presented these findings from the article titled “Aspirin in the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: Current Knowledge and Future Research Needs,” on Saturday, Aug. 30 at a “Meet the Experts” lecture at the European Society of Cardiology meetings in Barcelona, Spain. Serving as chair of a symposium on Sunday, Aug. 31, he also delivered a lecture on “Evolving Concepts in Cardiovascular Prevention: Aspirin Then and Now.”
In the article, Hennekens and Dalen emphasize that the evidence in treatment indicates that all patients having a heart attack or who have survived a prior event should be given aspirin. In healthy individuals, however, they state that any decision to prescribe aspirin should be an individual clinical judgment by the healthcare provider that weighs the absolute benefit in reducing the risk of a first heart against the absolute risk of major bleeding.
“The crucial role of therapeutic lifestyle changes and other drugs of life saving benefit such as statins should be considered with aspirin as an adjunct, not alternative,” said Hennekens. “The benefits of statins and aspirin are, at the very least, additive. The more widespread and appropriate use of aspirin in primary prevention is particularly attractive, especially in developing countries where cardiovascular disease is emerging as the leading cause of death.”
Hennekens also notes that aspirin is generally widely available over the counter and is extremely inexpensive. He cautions, however, that more evidence is necessary in intermediate risk subjects before general guidelines should be made.
Among the numerous honors and recognition Hennekens has received include the 2013 Fries Prize for Improving Health for his seminal contributions to the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease, the 2013 Presidential Award from his alma mater, Queens College for his distinguished contributions to society, the 2013 honoree as part of FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine from the American Heart Assn. for reducing deaths from heart attacks and strokes, and the 2014 honoree from the Ochsner Foundation for his seminal research on smoking and disease.
From 1995 to 2005, Science Watch ranked Hennekens as the third most widely cited medical researcher in the world and five of the top 20 were his former trainees and/or fellows. In 2012, Science Heroes ranked Hennekens No. 81 in the history of the world for having saved more than 1.1 million lives.
For more information: www.fau.edu