Aspirin administered in the critical period after a first stroke limits the risk of a recurrence, according to a study appearing Friday in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.
The risk of a second stroke is reduced by a third if aspirin is taken in the weeks following a stroke, and, within a month, it prevents recurrences in nine out of 1,000 stroke patients, according to researchers at the Oxford University in England.
"Preventing nine strokes or deaths out of 1,000 people may not sound like much. But if you consider there are several million strokes worldwide each year ... this will prevent about 20,000 strokes or deaths," stressed Chen Zhengming, one of the study authors.
"Early aspirin therapy should be used more widely," he said.
The risk of a second stroke is highest immediately following an initial stroke, according to the American Heart Association.
The team studied 40,000 stroke victims in two studies, one in China and the other in various countries.
Aspirin therapy has already been proven effective in reducing risks over the long term, but this is the first extensive study showing short term advantages.
Aspirin is known to prevent blood clotting, but doctors hesitate to prescribe it for strokes, which are caused by blood vessel blockages in the brain, for fear of causing bleeding, according to researchers -- WASHINGTON (AFP)
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