Aspirin After Bypass Surgery: Safe or Deadly? And Is More Exercise Always Better? New Studies Get to the Heart of These Questions.
Aspirin's ability to promote bleeding has made surgeons leery of its use immediately after heart surgery. But a large trial, with data from 17 countries, published in today's New England Journal of Medicine, shows that aspirin given during the first 48 hours after coronary bypass surgery cut the risks of postoperative heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure and reduced postoperative deaths by more than 60 percent. The credit goes to aspirin's anti-clotting and anti-inflammatory effects.
Exercise and the Heart: the Numbers
Does modest exercise, such as walking, help at all? Is more exercise necessarily better? New data from Harvard's Health Professionals Follow-up Study say yes to both questions. Based on data from the 44,452 participants, here are the reductions in coronary heart disease risk that come from various physical activities:
Running for one hour or more per week: 42 percent decrease*
Weight training for 30 minutes or more per week: 23 percent decrease*
Rowing for one hour or more per week: 18 percent decrease*
Brisk walking for 30 minutes per day: 18 percent decrease*
*All are statistically significant (see article for confidence intervals).
Within each category, increased intensity led to greater risk reductions.
Mangano DT. Aspirin and mortality from coronary bypass surgery. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:1309-1317.
Tanasescu M, Leitzmann MF, Rimm EB, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ, Hu FB. Exercise type and intensity in relation to coronary heart disease in men. JAMA. 2002;288:1994-2000.
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