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Assessing Aspirin Use for CVD Prevention

Assessing Aspirin Use for CVD Prevention

Aspirin has been shown to help reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events and is recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force to prevent heart attacks and ischemic strokes. The drug is used as a primary strategy to help prevent a first occurrence of cardiovascular disease (CVD). It can also be used as secondary prevention for survivors of heart attacks and strokes to prevent additional cardiovascular events. The American Heart Association recommends daily low‐dose aspirin for people at high risk of heart attacks and regular use of low‐dose aspirin for heart attack survivors. “Preventing CVD events is particularly important,” says Arch G. Mainous, PhD. “Understanding physician recommendations for aspirin therapy is critical to the delivery of quality care.” Few studies, however, have evaluated patient use of aspirin and reported physician recommendations of aspirin therapy for CVD prevention.   Suboptimal Use In a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, Dr. Mainous and colleagues analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2011–2012 and examined aspirin use for preventing CVD. The study showed that only about 41% of high-risk individuals reported being told by their physician to take aspirin, and just 79% of these patients actually complied with the recommendation. Among low-risk patients, 26% were told by their physician to take aspirin, with nearly 77% complying. Several factors were identified as significant predictors of patients reporting that their physician recommended aspirin use for primary prevention. These included age, access to a regular source of care, education, and insurance status. Among high‐risk patients, significant predictors were age, race, and insurance status. Age, education, obesity,...
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