Taking a low-dose aspirin might prevent you from ending up in an intensive care unit — or worse — if you are infected with COVID-19, a new study finds.
Researchers at George Washington University found that in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, aspirin protects the lungs, reducing the need for mechanical ventilation and ICU admission. It also reduces in-hospital mortality in such patients.
The latest findings, published in the medical journal Anesthesia & Analgesia, build on earlier research that has found aspirin can both prevent COVID-19 infections and reduce the impact of infection after it has occurred.
In a press announcement, Dr. Jonathan Chow, assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, says:
“Aspirin is low cost, easily accessible and millions are already using it to treat their health conditions. Finding this association is a huge win for those looking to reduce risk from some of the most devastating effects of COVID-19.”
The study included more than 400 patients admitted to hospitals around the U.S. from March to July 2020. In these patients, aspirin use reduced the risk of:
- Mechanical ventilation (44% reduction)
- ICU admission (43% reduction)
- In-hospital mortality (47% reduction)
Chow notes that the protective role of aspirin is not surprising. The drug is often used to prevent strokes and heart attacks, and it is known that COVID-19 can make blood cells more likely to clump up and form clots. According to the Mayo Clinic:
“While large clots can cause heart attacks and strokes, much of the heart damage caused by COVID-19 is believed to stem from very small clots that block tiny blood vessels (capillaries) in the heart muscle.”
Such blood clots also can impact the:
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