(HealthDay News) — For those who have an elevated coronary artery calcium (CAC) score, aspirin therapy may be beneficial for primary prevention of coronary heart disease (CHD), according to research published online May 6 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Michael D. Miedema, MD, MPH, of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues analyzed data for 4,229 participants from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis to assess the use of CAC scores as a guide to selecting aspirin therapy for primary prevention of CHD.

The researchers found that individuals with a CAC score of ≥100 had an estimated net benefit for use of aspirin regardless of 10-year CHD Framingham Risk Score (FRS) (estimated five-year number needed to treat, 173 for <10% FRS and 92 for ≥10% FRS; estimated five-year number to harm of 442 for a major bleed). In contrast, individuals with a CAC score of zero had unfavorable estimations for use of aspirin therapy to prevent CHD (estimated five-year number needed to treat, 2,036 for <10% FRS and 808 for ≥10% FRS; estimated five-year number to harm of 442 for a major bleed).

“For the primary prevention of coronary heart disease, Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis participants with CAC ≥100 had favorable risk/benefit estimations for aspirin use while participants with zero CAC were estimated to receive net harm from aspirin,” the authors write.

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