Aspirin in the treatment of cardiovascular disease: A review
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Large-scale clinical trials of the use of aspirin in post-myocardial infarction patients were based on the assumption that inhibition of platelet activity would reduce thromboembolism associated with atherosclerosis, and that thromboembolism is a major cause of the clinical complications of atherosclerosis. However, spasm and occlusive thrombi may also contribute to this picture, and thus thromboembolism is probably only one of the mechanisms that cause the clinical complications. Aspirin inhibits thrombosis only if thromboxane A2 formation by platelets plays a major part in the growth of thrombi; aspirin has little effect on thrombosis when thrombin generation and fibrin formation are dominant factors. Nevertheless, analysis of the combined data from the six clinical trials indicates a highly significant (21 percent) reduction in reinfarction rate and a 16 percent reduction in cardiovascular mortality rate in patients treated with aspirin. Aspirin may be most useful in treating an as-yet-unidentified subgroup of patients.
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