The People's Perspective on Medicine

Was Aspirin to Blame for Leaky Heart Valve?

A leaky heart valve is a mechanical problem. Nonetheless, it makes sense to let your health care providers if you are taking aspirin or any other OTC drug on a regular basis.

Nonprescription drugs don’t always get the respect they deserve. Many over-the-counter medications have significant effects, for good or for ill. If you take anything day in and day out, you should discuss the benefits and risks with your healthcare provider. That way, if you are found to have a condition such as a leaky heart valve, your medications can be adjusted appropriately.

Did Aspirin Cause Father’s Leaky Heart Valve?

Q. Without doctor’s instruction and unbeknownst to his family, my father was popping one regular-strength aspirin a day for years. When he was rushed to the hospital, they found a heart valve leaking. They strongly implied the aspirin my father admitted to taking was probably the cause.

A. We hate it when doctors blame the patient for a condition they have no control over. A leaky heart valve is a mechanical problem and not your father’s fault.

Your father was probably trying to protect his heart with aspirin, based on previous information that this inexpensive drug can prevent repeat heart attacks. In fact, if he received a mechanical replacement for his leaky heart valve, doctors might well have prescribed aspirin to prevent blood clots (International Journal of Cardiology, Aug. 1, 2018).

Aspirin Is Losing Its Luster:

The latest research shows, however, that for people at low risk of heart attacks, the increased danger of bleeding may outweigh any benefit of regular low-dose aspirin (The Lancet, Aug. 26, 2018). In addition, your father was taking a higher dose than would be recommended even for those at great risk of a recurrent heart attack.

Before taking any medication on a regular basis, people should discuss the pros and cons of it with their doctors. Keep in mind that as science proceeds, doctors may have better information on which to base their recommendations. As a result, these may change as well.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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I am in my 86th year and would not take aspirin any time not even on doctors recommendation, nor do I take any doctors prescription medicine my BP and cholesterol levels are ok and yet my doctor recommended I take a statin drug as a precaution. I did not need it this is a disgraceful approach by the medics over prescribing medicine even when not needed.

After I had 3 MI’s (Myocardiol Infarctions), Heart attacks, My Cardiologist put me on low dose 81 mg. enteric coated aspirin. He insists this is very necessary because of my risk of one of my 5 stents might clot and cause me a stroke. I already have Turmeric and Beet powder in my daily diet. I believe these are both blood thinners. Am I overdoing it with the aspirin? I would rather not risk stomach bleeding or excessive bruising from the Aspirin. But what can you do when your Cardiologist is most insistent?

I was was taking baby aspirin for years to prevent afib from leading to a stroke. Until I had to go to E.R. for a nonstop nosebleed. Plus, I had been having bruising (not from injury, just magically appearing). I can’t understand why the afib wasn’t dealt with, instead of taking a drug to prevent something else.

For over 17 years, I have taken one enteric full aspirin/day after having a heart attack and stent placed in coronary artery. Several months ago, I developed a bleeding stomach ulcer, was told it was aspirin related and now take Plavix instead. I Value all those years of aspirin and its good effects. Corrie E.

Because of our tort system, I believe that doctors are very constrained to go with the FDA and long term practice with regard to drug use. I have some experience with statistical analysis and especially if People’s supports a study, then I prefer to go with the latest recommendations, rather than wait for the MD’s to catch up. A lot of us won’t be around that long.

Just listen to your Dr. and take the aspirin. Then Pharma got you on a PPI that you can’t get off, for life.

A well known doctor, with a show on TV. Has promoted taking 2 .81mg aspirin tablets daily. What are people to believe.

I think that I don’t have enough information .. just about everything you do (stress, hydration, diet, microbiome) or eat affects platelet adhesion because it is a dynamic process. The heart valves are designed to hold back normal blood. Blood that is treated with aspirin is not normal and very well might leak through a closed heart valve.

Our family history is such that an aspirin a day may very well save our lives. The familial factor should be a component of the decision making regarding any medication.

Every drug including a low dose aspirin (81Mg) has untoward side effects.
One has to weigh the efficacy of the dose and drug against the possible side effects and decide if it is beneficial for the person to take such a prophylactic drug.

Ten years ago I had a case of Transit Global Anemia. My doctor recommended taking a full strength aspirin every day. I have had no issues from this dosage. Take it with food and not with anything acidic such as citrus juice.

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