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Aspirin after Bypass Improves Risks

separator A study in the New England Journal of Medicine has shown that people who take aspirin in the first 48 hours after heart bypass surgery can significantly reduce their risk of death and other complications. Some doctors have been reluctant to have their patients take aspirin right after angioplasty because of the danger of bleeding. But in the study, bleeding was not a problem.

Aspirin can help keep the grafted vessels from clogging. The authors of the study say that aspirin use after surgery could save 8,000 lives a year in the U.S. alone. The study found that, without aspirin, the death rate for patients still in the hospital after surgery was four percent. For patients who took aspirin, the death rate was 1.3 percent. There were also reductions in heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and bowel damage. The aspirin was found to prevent formation of blood clots and to reduce inflammation in blood vessels. Inflammation increases after surgery and contributes to clotting and organ damage.

People who are allergic to aspirin or who have bleeding disorders should not take aspirin.

New England Journal of Medicine, 24 October 2002
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