Low-Dose Aspirin Affects the Small Bowel Mucosa: Results of a Pilot Study With a Multidimensional Assessment
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BACKGROUND & AIMS: Whether low-dose aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid [ASA]) produces intestinal damage is controversial. Our aim was to determine whether the small bowel is damaged by low-dose ASA on a short-term basis. METHODS: Twenty healthy volunteers (age range, 19-64 years) underwent video capsule endoscopy (VCE), fecal calprotectin, and permeability tests (sucrose and lactulose/mannitol [lac/man] ratio) before and after ingestion of 100 mg of enteric-coated ASA daily for 14 days. Video capsule images were assessed by 2 independent expert endoscopists, fully blinded to the treatment group, by using an endoscopic scale. RESULTS: Post-ASA VCE detected 10 cases (50%) with mucosal damage not apparent in baseline studies (6 cases had petechiae, 3 had erosions, and 1 had bleeding stigmata in 2 ulcers). The median baseline lac/man ratio (0.021; range, 0.011-0.045) increased after ASA use (0.036; range, 0.007-0.258; P = .08), and the post-ASA lac/man ratio was above the upper end of normal (>0.025) in 10 of 20 volunteers (vs baseline, P < .02). The median baseline fecal calprotectin concentration (6.05 microg/g; range, 1.9-79.2) also increased significantly after ASA use (23.9 microg/g; range, 3.1-75.3; P < .0005), with 3 patients having values above the cutoff (>50 microg/g). Five of 10 subjects with abnormal findings at VCE also had lac/man ratios above the cutoff. Median baseline sucrose urinary excretion (70.0 mg; range, 11.8-151.3) increased significantly after ASA administration (107.0 mg; range, 22.9-411.3; P < .05). CONCLUSIONS: The short-term administration of low-dose ASA is associated with mucosal abnormalities of the small bowel mucosa, which might have implications in clinical practice.