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Aspirin Therapy Safe for Some Brain Hemorrhage Survivors

Study found users had no increased risk for repeat attacks

MONDAY, Jan. 23, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Aspirin may be a safe therapy for some brain hemorrhage survivors, a new U.S. study suggests.

The study of 207 patients concluded that it may be safe to use aspirin to treat some people who've survived an intracerebral hemorrhage -- a stroke caused by bleeding in the brain -- to prevent future strokes or heart attacks caused by blood clots.

Overall, 18 percent of the patients had recurrent hemorrhages during an average follow-up period of 20 months after the initial hemorrhage. However, the risk was not higher among the 46 patients who took aspirin after their brain hemorrhage than among the 161 patients who did not take aspirin, noted researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston.

The location of the original hemorrhage was the only factor associated with increased risk of recurrence, the study found. People who suffered a hemorrhage in the cerebral cortex had a greater risk of recurrence than those whose hemorrhage occurred in the deep structure of the brain. This is something that has been noted in previous studies, the researchers said.

"While it would be premature to conclude that all patients with intracerebral hemorrhage can safely take aspirin, our results suggest it may be appropriate for some patients at elevated risk of ischemic stroke (caused by a clot that cuts off the brain's blood supply) or heart disease," study senior author Dr. Eric Smith said in a prepared statement.

"The most definitive information would come from a clinical trial in which patients were randomly assigned to receive aspirin or placebo. But I think such a trial is unlikely, so this may be the best data that will be available," said Smith, who is an instructor at neurology at Harvard Medical School.

The findings appear in the Jan. 24 issue of the journal Neurology.

More information

The National Library of Medicine has more about intracerebral hemorrhage.

SOURCE: Massachusetts General Hospital, news release, Jan. 23, 2006
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