Context: Although aspirin has been shown to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and short-term mortality following acute myocardial infarction, the association between its use and long-term all-cause mortality has not been well defined.
Objectives: To determine whether aspirin is associated with a mortality benefit in stable patients with known or suspected coronary disease and to identify patient characteristics that predict the maximum absolute mortality benefit from aspirin.
Design and setting: Prospective, nonrandomized, observational cohort study conducted between 1990 and 1998 at an academic medical institution, with a median follow-up of 3.1 years.
Patients: Of 6174 consecutive adults undergoing stress echocardiography for evaluation of known or suspected coronary disease, 2310 (37%) were taking aspirin. Patients with significant valvular disease or documented contraindication to aspirin use, including peptic ulcer disease, renal insufficiency, and use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, were excluded.
Main outcome measure: All-cause mortality according to aspirin use.
Results: During 3.1 years of follow-up, 276 patients (4.5%) died. In a simple univariable analysis, there was no association between aspirin use and mortality (4.5% vs 4.5%). However, after adjustment for age, sex, standard cardiovascular risk factors, use of other medications, coronary disease history, ejection fraction, exercise capacity, heart rate recovery, and echocardiographic ischemia, aspirin use was associated with reduced mortality (hazard ratio [HR], 0.67; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.51-0.87; P =.002). In further analysis using matching by propensity score, 1351 patients who were taking aspirin were at lower risk for death than 1351 patients not using aspirin (4% vs 8%, respectively; HR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.38-0.74; P =.002). After adjusting for the propensity for using aspirin, as well as other possible confounders and interactions, aspirin use remained associated with a lower risk for death (adjusted HR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.40-0.78; P<.001). The patient characteristics associated with the most aspirin-related reductions in mortality were older age, known coronary artery disease, and impaired exercise capacity.
Conclusion: Aspirin use among patients undergoing stress echocardiography was independently associated with reduced long-term all-cause mortality, particularly among older patients, those with known coronary artery disease, and those with impaired exercise capacity.