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      Effect of Aspirin on Cardiovascular Events and Bleeding in the Healthy Elderly

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      New England Journal of Medicine
      New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM/MMS)

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          Abstract

          Aspirin is a well-established therapy for the secondary prevention of cardiovascular events. However, its role in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease is unclear, especially in older persons, who have an increased risk.

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          Final report on the aspirin component of the ongoing Physicians' Health Study. Steering Committee of the Physicians' Health Study Research Group.

          The Physicians' Health Study is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial designed to determine whether low-dose aspirin (325 mg every other day) decreases cardiovascular mortality and whether beta carotene reduces the incidence of cancer. The aspirin component was terminated earlier than scheduled, and the preliminary findings were published. We now present detailed analyses of the cardiovascular component for 22,071 participants, at an average follow-up time of 60.2 months. There was a 44 percent reduction in the risk of myocardial infarction (relative risk, 0.56; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.45 to 0.70; P less than 0.00001) in the aspirin group (254.8 per 100,000 per year as compared with 439.7 in the placebo group). A slightly increased risk of stroke among those taking aspirin was not statistically significant; this trend was observed primarily in the subgroup with hemorrhagic stroke (relative risk, 2.14; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.96 to 4.77; P = 0.06). No reduction in mortality from all cardiovascular causes was associated with aspirin (relative risk, 0.96; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.60 to 1.54). Further analyses showed that the reduction in the risk of myocardial infarction was apparent only among those who were 50 years of age and older. The benefit was present at all levels of cholesterol, but appeared greatest at low levels. The relative risk of ulcer in the aspirin group was 1.22 (169 in the aspirin group as compared with 138 in the placebo group; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.98 to 1.53; P = 0.08), and the relative risk of requiring a blood transfusion was 1.71. This trial of aspirin for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease demonstrates a conclusive reduction in the risk of myocardial infarction, but the evidence concerning stroke and total cardiovascular deaths remains inconclusive because of the inadequate numbers of physicians with these end points.
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            Decline in Cardiovascular Mortality: Possible Causes and Implications.

            If the control of infectious diseases was the public health success story of the first half of the 20th century, then the decline in mortality from coronary heart disease and stroke has been the success story of the century's past 4 decades. The early phase of this decline in coronary heart disease and stroke was unexpected and controversial when first reported in the mid-1970s, having followed 60 years of gradual increase as the US population aged. However, in 1978, the participants in a conference convened by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute concluded that a significant recent downtick in coronary heart disease and stroke mortality rates had definitely occurred, at least in the US Since 1978, a sharp decline in mortality rates from coronary heart disease and stroke has become unmistakable throughout the industrialized world, with age-adjusted mortality rates having declined to about one third of their 1960s baseline by 2000. Models have shown that this remarkable decline has been fueled by rapid progress in both prevention and treatment, including precipitous declines in cigarette smoking, improvements in hypertension treatment and control, widespread use of statins to lower circulating cholesterol levels, and the development and timely use of thrombolysis and stents in acute coronary syndrome to limit or prevent infarction. However, despite the huge growth in knowledge and advances in prevention and treatment, there remain many questions about this decline. In fact, there is evidence that the rate of decline may have abated and may even be showing early signs of reversal in some population groups. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, through a request for information, is soliciting input that could inform a follow-up conference on or near the 40th anniversary of the original landmark conference to further explore these trends in cardiovascular mortality in the context of what has come before and what may lie ahead.
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              The burden of cardiovascular disease in the elderly: morbidity, mortality, and costs.

              Cardiovascular disease (CVD) in older Americans imposes a huge burden in mortality, morbidity, disability, functional decline, and health care costs. In light of the projected growth of the population of older adults over the next several decades, the societal burden attributable to CVD will continue to rise. There is thus an enormous opportunity to foster successful aging and to increase functional life years through expanded efforts aimed at CVD prevention. This article provides an overview of the epidemiology of CVD in older adults, including an assessment of the impact of CVD on mortality, morbidity, and health care costs.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                New England Journal of Medicine
                N Engl J Med
                New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM/MMS)
                0028-4793
                1533-4406
                September 16 2018
                September 16 2018
                Affiliations
                [1 ]From the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University (J.J.M., R.W., R.L.W., A.M.T., M.R.N., C.M.R., J.E.L., E.S., S.M.F., S.G.O., R.E.T., C.I.J., J.R., E.M.W., S.E.M.), Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute (C.I.J.), the Department of Cardiology, St. Vincent’s Hospital (M.J.), and the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Central Clinical School, Monash University and Alfred Hospital (G.C.), Melbourne, and Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, University of Melbourne,...
                Article
                10.1056/NEJMoa1805819
                6289056
                30221597
                a054fb55-4f24-4eb8-a857-c01111439c7c
                © 2018

                http://www.nejmgroup.org/legal/terms-of-use.htm

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