Aspirin Alone Not Always Enough to Clobber Clots

Therapy may not be strong enough to prevent blood problem in some heart patients

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MONDAY, Nov. 10, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Aspirin alone may not be strong enough to prevent blood clots from forming in some people with heart problems.

The sobering news comes in a Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions study presented Nov. 10 at the American Heart Association's annual conference in Orlando, Fla.

The researchers collected blood samples from 33 patients hospitalized for chest pain -- 18 with cardiac chest pain and 15 with non-cardiac chest pain. All the patients were taking 81 milligrams to 325 milligrams per day of aspirin.

The blood samples were treated with low doses of epinephrine and ADP, medications that let blood platelets clump together. Despite treatment with aspirin, blood platelets clumped together 5 percent to 10 percent more in the blood samples from patients with heart disease than in the blood taken from the people without heart disease.

"Even though these patients were receiving aspirin therapy, they still had very active platelets," lead author Dr. Marlene S. Williams, an assistant professor of medicine, says in a prepared statement.

The more that blood platelets clump together, the greater the risk of clot formation and heart attack.

Williams plans to investigate the effectiveness of adding other anti-clotting agents to aspirin therapy. She also recommends patients on daily aspirin therapy should continue.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about how to reduce your risk of heart disease.

SOURCE: Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, news release, Nov. 10, 2003

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