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1.  Aspirin in the primary and secondary prevention of vascular disease: collaborative meta-analysis of individual participant data from randomised trials 
Lancet  2009;373(9678):1849-1860.
Summary
Background
Low-dose aspirin is of definite and substantial net benefit for many people who already have occlusive vascular disease. We have assessed the benefits and risks in primary prevention.
Methods
We undertook meta-analyses of serious vascular events (myocardial infarction, stroke, or vascular death) and major bleeds in six primary prevention trials (95 000 individuals at low average risk, 660 000 person-years, 3554 serious vascular events) and 16 secondary prevention trials (17 000 individuals at high average risk, 43 000 person-years, 3306 serious vascular events) that compared long-term aspirin versus control. We report intention-to-treat analyses of first events during the scheduled treatment period.
Findings
In the primary prevention trials, aspirin allocation yielded a 12% proportional reduction in serious vascular events (0·51% aspirin vs 0·57% control per year, p=0·0001), due mainly to a reduction of about a fifth in non-fatal myocardial infarction (0·18% vs 0·23% per year, p<0·0001). The net effect on stroke was not significant (0·20% vs 0·21% per year, p=0·4: haemorrhagic stroke 0·04% vs 0·03%, p=0·05; other stroke 0·16% vs 0·18% per year, p=0·08). Vascular mortality did not differ significantly (0·19% vs 0·19% per year, p=0·7). Aspirin allocation increased major gastrointestinal and extracranial bleeds (0·10% vs 0·07% per year, p<0·0001), and the main risk factors for coronary disease were also risk factors for bleeding. In the secondary prevention trials, aspirin allocation yielded a greater absolute reduction in serious vascular events (6·7% vs 8·2% per year, p<0.0001), with a non-significant increase in haemorrhagic stroke but reductions of about a fifth in total stroke (2·08% vs 2·54% per year, p=0·002) and in coronary events (4·3% vs 5·3% per year, p<0·0001). In both primary and secondary prevention trials, the proportional reductions in the aggregate of all serious vascular events seemed similar for men and women.
Interpretation
In primary prevention without previous disease, aspirin is of uncertain net value as the reduction in occlusive events needs to be weighed against any increase in major bleeds. Further trials are in progress.
Funding
UK Medical Research Council, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, and the European Community Biomed Programme.
doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(09)60503-1
PMCID: PMC2715005  PMID: 19482214
2.  Collaborative meta-analysis of randomised trials of antiplatelet therapy for prevention of death, myocardial infarction, and stroke in high risk patients 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2002;324(7329):71-86.
Objective
To determine the effects of antiplatelet therapy among patients at high risk of occlusive vascular events.
Design
Collaborative meta-analyses (systematic overviews).
Inclusion criteria
Randomised trials of an antiplatelet regimen versus control or of one antiplatelet regimen versus another in high risk patients (with acute or previous vascular disease or some other predisposing condition) from which results were available before September 1997. Trials had to use a method of randomisation that precluded prior knowledge of the next treatment to be allocated and comparisons had to be unconfounded—that is, have study groups that differed only in terms of antiplatelet regimen.
Studies reviewed
287 studies involving 135 000 patients in comparisons of antiplatelet therapy versus control and 77 000 in comparisons of different antiplatelet regimens.
Main outcome measure
“Serious vascular event”: non-fatal myocardial infarction, non-fatal stroke, or vascular death.
Results
Overall, among these high risk patients, allocation to antiplatelet therapy reduced the combined outcome of any serious vascular event by about one quarter; non-fatal myocardial infarction was reduced by one third, non-fatal stroke by one quarter, and vascular mortality by one sixth (with no apparent adverse effect on other deaths). Absolute reductions in the risk of having a serious vascular event were 36 (SE 5) per 1000 treated for two years among patients with previous myocardial infarction; 38 (5) per 1000 patients treated for one month among patients with acute myocardial infarction; 36 (6) per 1000 treated for two years among those with previous stroke or transient ischaemic attack; 9 (3) per 1000 treated for three weeks among those with acute stroke; and 22 (3) per 1000 treated for two years among other high risk patients (with separately significant results for those with stable angina (P=0.0005), peripheral arterial disease (P=0.004), and atrial fibrillation (P=0.01)). In each of these high risk categories, the absolute benefits substantially outweighed the absolute risks of major extracranial bleeding. Aspirin was the most widely studied antiplatelet drug, with doses of 75-150 mg daily at least as effective as higher daily doses. The effects of doses lower than 75 mg daily were less certain. Clopidogrel reduced serious vascular events by 10% (4%) compared with aspirin, which was similar to the 12% (7%) reduction observed with its analogue ticlopidine. Addition of dipyridamole to aspirin produced no significant further reduction in vascular events compared with aspirin alone. Among patients at high risk of immediate coronary occlusion, short term addition of an intravenous glycoprotein IIb/IIIa antagonist to aspirin prevented a further 20 (4) vascular events per 1000 (P<0.0001) but caused 23 major (but rarely fatal) extracranial bleeds per 1000.
Conclusions
Aspirin (or another oral antiplatelet drug) is protective in most types of patient at increased risk of occlusive vascular events, including those with an acute myocardial infarction or ischaemic stroke, unstable or stable angina, previous myocardial infarction, stroke or cerebral ischaemia, peripheral arterial disease, or atrial fibrillation. Low dose aspirin (75-150 mg daily) is an effective antiplatelet regimen for long term use, but in acute settings an initial loading dose of at least 150 mg aspirin may be required. Adding a second antiplatelet drug to aspirin may produce additional benefits in some clinical circumstances, but more research into this strategy is needed.
What is already known on this topicAntiplatelet therapy is effective for short term treatment of patients with suspected acute myocardial infarction and unstable anginaLong term treatment is beneficial for patients who have had a myocardial infarction, stroke, or transient ischaemic attackDaily aspirin doses of 75-325 mg are effectiveWhat this study addsAntiplatelet therapy protects against vascular events among patients with stable angina, intermittent claudication, and (if oral anticoagulants are unsuitable) atrial fibrillationAntiplatelet therapy can be started promptly during acute presumed ischaemic stroke and continued long termDaily aspirin doses of 75-150 mg seem to be as effective as higher doses for long term treatments (and clopidrogel is an appropriate alternative for patients with a contraindication to aspirin)Short term addition of a glycoprotein IIb/IIIa antagonist to aspirin prevents vascular events in patients having percutaneous coronary intervention and those with unstable angina but causes increased bleeding
PMCID: PMC64503  PMID: 11786451
3.  Determination of who may derive most benefit from aspirin in primary prevention: subgroup results from a randomised controlled trial 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2000;321(7252):13-17.
Objective
To determine which groups of patients may derive particular benefit or experience harm from the use of low dose aspirin for the primary prevention of coronary heart disease.
Design
Randomised controlled trial.
Setting
108 group practices in the Medical Research Council's general practice research framework who were taking part in the thrombosis prevention trial.
Participants
5499 men aged between 45 and 69 years at entry who were at increased risk of coronary heart disease.
Main outcome measures
Myocardial infarction, coronary death, and stroke.
Results
Aspirin reduced coronary events by 20%. This benefit, mainly for non-fatal events, was significantly greater the lower the systolic blood pressure at entry (interaction P=0.0015), the relative risk at pressures 130 mm Hg being 0.55 compared with 0.94 at pressures >145 mm Hg. Aspirin also reduced strokes at low but not high pressures, the relative risks being 0.41 and 1.42 (P=0.006) respectively. The relative risk of all major cardiovascular events—that is, the sum of coronary heart disease and stroke—was 0.59 at pressures <130 mm Hg compared with 1.08 at pressures >145 mm Hg (P=0.0001).
Conclusion
Even with the limitations of subgroup analyses the evidence suggests that the benefit of low dose aspirin in primary prevention may occur mainly in those with lower systolic blood pressures, although it is not clear even in these men that the benefit outweighs the potential hazards. Men with higher pressures may be exposed to the risks of bleeding while deriving no benefit through reductions in coronary heart disease and stroke.
PMCID: PMC27417  PMID: 10875825
4.  Lack of benefits for prevention of cardiovascular disease with aspirin therapy in type 2 diabetic patients - a longitudinal observational study 
Background
The risk-benefit ratio of aspirin therapy in prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains contentious, especially in type 2 diabetes. This study examined the benefit and harm of low-dose aspirin (daily dose < 300 mg) in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Methods
This is a longitudinal observational study with primary and secondary prevention cohorts based on history of CVD at enrolment. We compared the occurrence of primary composite (non-fatal myocardial infarction or stroke and vascular death) and secondary endpoints (upper GI bleeding and haemorrhagic stroke) between aspirin users and non-users between January 1995 and July 2005.
Results
Of the 6,454 patients (mean follow-up: median [IQR]: 4.7 [4.4] years), usage of aspirin was 18% (n = 1,034) in the primary prevention cohort (n = 5731) and 81% (n = 585) in the secondary prevention cohort (n = 723). After adjustment for covariates, in the primary prevention cohort, aspirin use was associated with a hazard-ratio of 2.07 (95% CI: 1.66, 2.59, p < 0.001) for primary endpoint. There was no difference in CVD event rate in the secondary prevention cohort. Overall, aspirin use was associated with a hazard-ratio of 2.2 (1.53, 3.15, p < 0.001) of GI bleeding and 1.71 (1.00, 2.95, p = 0.051) of haemorrhagic stroke. The absolute risk of aspirin-related GI bleeding was 10.7 events per 1,000 person-years of treatment.
Conclusion
In Chinese type 2 diabetic patients, low dose aspirin was associated with a paradoxical increase in CVD risk in primary prevention and did not confer benefits in secondary prevention. In addition, the risk of GI bleeding in aspirin users was rather high.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-8-57
PMCID: PMC2777137  PMID: 19878541
5.  Aspirin effect on the incidence of major adverse cardiovascular events in patients with diabetes mellitus: a systematic review and meta-analysis 
Background
Aspirin has been recommended for the prevention of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE, composite of non-fatal myocardial infarction, non-fatal stroke, and cardiovascular death) in diabetic patients without previous cardiovascular disease. However, recent meta-analyses have prompted re-evaluation of this practice. The study objective was to evaluate the relative and absolute benefits and harms of aspirin for the prevention of incident MACE in patients with diabetes.
Methods
We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis on seven studies (N = 11,618) reporting on the use of aspirin for the primary prevention of MACE in patients with diabetes. Two reviewers conducted a systematic search of electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, and BIOSIS) and hand searched bibliographies and clinical trial registries. Reviewers extracted data in duplicate, evaluated the quality of the trials, and calculated pooled estimates.
Results
A total of 11,618 participants were included in the analysis. The overall risk ratio (RR) for MACE was 0.91 (95% confidence intervals, CI, 0.82-1.00) with little heterogeneity among trials (I2 0.0%). Secondary outcomes of interest included myocardial infarction (RR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.66-1.10), stroke (RR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.64-1.11), cardiovascular death (RR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.71-1.27), and all-cause mortality (RR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.85-1.06). There were higher rates of hemorrhagic and gastrointestinal events. In absolute terms, these relative risks indicate that for every 10,000 diabetic patients treated with aspirin, 109 MACE may be prevented at the expense of 19 major bleeding events (with the caveat that the relative risk for the latter is not statistically significant).
Conclusions
The studies reviewed suggest that aspirin reduces the risk of MACE in patients with diabetes without cardiovascular disease, while also causing a trend toward higher rates of bleeding and gastrointestinal complications. These findings and our absolute benefit and risk calculations suggest that those with diabetes but without cardiovascular disease lie somewhere between primary and secondary prevention patients on the spectrum of benefit and risk. This underscores the importance of considering individual risk in clinical decision making regarding aspirin in those with diabetes.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-10-25
PMCID: PMC3098148  PMID: 21453547
6.  Aspirin for Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Events: Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials and Subgroup Analysis by Sex and Diabetes Status 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e90286.
Objective
To evaluate the benefits and harms of aspirin for the primary prevention of CVD and determine whether the effects vary by sex and diabetes status.
Methods
We searched Medline, Embase, and Cochrane databases for randomized controlled trials comparing the effects of aspirin with placebo or control in people with no pre-existing CVD. Two investigators independently extracted data and assessed the study quality. Analyses were performed using Stata version 12.
Results
Fourteen trials (107,686 participants) were eligible. Aspirin was associated with reductions in major cardiovascular events (risk ratio, 0.90; 95% confidence interval, 0.85–0.95), myocardial infarction (0.86; 0.75–0.93), ischemic stroke (0.86; 0.75–0.98) and all-cause mortality (0.94; 0.89–0.99). There were also increases in hemorrhagic stroke (1.34; 1.01–1.79) and major bleeding (1.55; 1.35–1.78) with aspirin. The number needed to treat to prevent 1 major cardiovascular event over a mean follow-up of 6.8 years was 284. By comparison, the numbers needed to harm to cause 1 major bleeding is 299. In subgroup analyses, pooled results demonstrated a reduction in myocardial infarction among men (0.71; 0.59–0.85) and ischemic stroke among women (0.77; 0.63–0.93). Aspirin use was associated with a reduction (0.65; 0.51–0.82) in myocardial infarction among diabetic men. In meta-regression analyses, the results suggested that aspirin therapy might be associated with a decrease in stroke among diabetic women and a decrease in MI among diabetic men and risk reductions achieved with low doses (75 mg/day) were as large as those obtained with higher doses (650 mg/day).
Conclusions
The use of low-dose aspirin was beneficial for primary prevention of CVD and the decision regarding an aspirin regimen should be made on an individual patient basis. The effects of aspirin therapy varied by sex and diabetes status. A clear benefit of aspirin in the primary prevention of CVD in people with diabetes needs more trials.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090286
PMCID: PMC4215843  PMID: 25360605
7.  Aspirin for Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Events 
OBJECTIVE
The use of aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular events in the general population is controversial. The purpose of this study was to create a versatile model to evaluate the effects of aspirin in the primary prevention of cardiovascular events in patients with different risk profiles.
DESIGN
A Markov decision-analytic model evaluated the expected length and quality of life for the cohort's next 10 years as measured by quality-adjusted survival for the options of taking or not taking aspirin.
SETTING
Hypothetical model of patients in a primary care setting.
PATIENTS
Several cohorts of patients with a range of risk profiles typically seen in a primary care setting were considered. Risk factors considered included gender, age, cholesterol levels, systolic blood pressure, smoking status, diabetes, and presence of left ventricular hypertrophy. The cohorts were followed for 10 years. Outcomes were myocardial infarction, stroke, gastrointestinal bleed, ulcer, and death.
MAIN RESULTS
For the cases considered, the effects of aspirin varied according to the cohort's risk profile. By taking aspirin, the lowest-risk cohort would be the most harmed with a loss of 1.8 quality-adjusted life days by taking aspirin; the highest risk cohort would achieve the most benefit with a gain of 11.3 quality-adjusted life days. Results without quality adjustment favored taking aspirin in all the cohorts, with a gain of 0.73 to 8.04 days. The decision was extremely sensitive to variations in the utility of taking aspirin and to aspirin's effects on cardiovascular mortality. The model was robust to other probability and utility changes within reasonable parameters.
CONCLUSIONS
The decision of whether to take aspirin as primary prevention for cardiovascular events depends on patient risk. It is a harmful intervention for patients with no risk factors, and it is beneficial in moderate and high-risk patients. The benefits of aspirin in this population are comparable to those of other widely accepted preventive strategies. It is especially dependent on the patient's risk profile, patient preferences for the adverse effects of aspirin, and on the level of beneficial effects of aspirin on cardiovascular-related mortality.
doi:10.1046/j.1525-1497.1998.00246.x
PMCID: PMC1497039  PMID: 9844080
aspirin; primary prevention; cardiovascular disease; decision analysis; risk stratification
8.  Effects of Combined Aspirin and Clopidogrel Therapy on Cardiovascular Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e31642.
Background
Aspirin and clopidogrel monotherapies are effective treatments for preventing vascular disease. However, new evidence has emerged regarding the use of combined aspirin and clopidogrel therapy to prevent cardiovascular events. We therefore performed a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the benefits and harms of combined aspirin and clopidogrel therapy on major cardiovascular outcomes.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We systematically searched Medline, Embase, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, reference lists of articles, and proceedings of major meetings to identify studies to fit our analysis. Eligible studies were randomized controlled trials assessing the effect of combined aspirin and clopidogrel therapy compared with aspirin or clopidogrel monotherapy. We identified 7 trials providing data with a total of 48248 patients. These studies reported 5134 major cardiovascular events, 1626 myocardial infarctions, 1927 strokes, and 1147 major bleeding events. Overall, the addition of aspirin to clopidogrel therapy as compared to single drug therapy resulted in a 9% RR reduction (95%CI, 2 to 17) in major cardiovascular events, 14% RR reduction (95%CI, 3 to 24) in myocardial infarction, 16% RR reduction (95%CI, 1 to 28) in stroke, and 62% RR increase (95%CI, 26 to 108) in major bleeding events. We also present the data as ARR to explore net value as the reduction in cardiovascular events. Overall, we observed that combined therapy yielded 1.06% decrease (95%CI, 0.23% to 1.99%) in major cardiovascular events and 1.23% increase (95%CI, 0.52% to 2.14%) in major bleeding events.
Conclusion/Significance
Although the addition of aspirin to clopidogrel resulted in small relative reductions in major cardiovascular events, myocardial infarction, and stroke, it also resulted in a relative increase in major bleeding events. In absolute terms the benefits of combined therapy, a 1.06% reduction in major cardiovascular events, does not outweigh the harms, a 1.23% increase in major bleeding events.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031642
PMCID: PMC3278459  PMID: 22348116
9.  Effect of Including Cancer Mortality on the Cost-Effectiveness of Aspirin for Primary Prevention in Men 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2013;28(11):1483-1491.
ABSTRACT
BACKGROUND
Recent data suggest that aspirin may be effective for reducing cancer mortality.
OBJECTIVE
To examine whether including a cancer mortality-reducing effect influences which men would benefit from aspirin for primary prevention.
DESIGN
We modified our existing Markov model that examines the effects of aspirin among middle-aged men with no previous history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes. For our base case scenario of 45-year-old men, we examined costs and life-years for men taking aspirin for 10 years compared with men who were not taking aspirin over those 10 years; after 10 years, we equalized treatment and followed the cohort until death. We compared our results depending on whether or not we included a 22 % relative reduction in cancer mortality, based on a recent meta-analysis. We discounted costs and benefits at 3 % and employed a third party payer perspective.
MAIN MEASURE
Cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained.
KEY RESULTS
When no effect on cancer mortality was included, aspirin had a cost per QALY gained of $22,492 at 5 % 10-year coronary heart disease (CHD) risk; at 2.5 % risk or below, no treatment was favored. When we included a reduction in cancer mortality, aspirin became cost-effective for men at 2.5 % risk as well (cost per QALY, $43,342). Results were somewhat sensitive to utility of taking aspirin daily; risk of death after myocardial infarction; and effects of aspirin on stroke, myocardial infarction, and sudden death. However, aspirin remained cost-saving or cost-effective (< $50,000 per QALY) in probabilistic analyses (59 % with no cancer effect included; 96 % with cancer effect) for men at 5 % risk.
CONCLUSIONS
Including an effect of aspirin on cancer mortality influences the threshold for prescribing aspirin for primary prevention in men. If such an effect is real, many middle-aged men at low cardiovascular risk would become candidates for regular aspirin use.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-013-2465-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s11606-013-2465-6
PMCID: PMC3797356  PMID: 23681842
aspirin; cancer mortality; coronary heart disease; guideline-based intervention; primary prevention
10.  Stroke: secondary prevention  
Clinical Evidence  2010;2010:0207.
Introduction
People with a history of stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA) are at high risk of all vascular events, such as myocardial infarction (MI), but are at particular risk of subsequent stroke (about 10% in the first year and about 5% each year thereafter).
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of preventive non-surgical interventions in people with previous stroke or transient ischaemic attack? What are the effects of preventive surgical interventions in people with previous stroke or transient ischaemic attack? What are the effects of preventive anticoagulant and antiplatelet treatments in people with atrial fibrillation and previous stroke or transient ischaemic attack? What are the effects of preventive anticoagulant and antiplatelet treatments in people with atrial fibrillation and without previous stroke or transient ischaemic attack? What are the effects of preventive anticoagulant and antiplatelet treatments in people with atrial fibrillation and without previous stroke or transient ischaemic attack and with low to moderate risk of stroke or transient ischaemic attack? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to February 2009 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 130 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: alternative antiplatelet regimens to aspirin, anticoagulation (oral dosing, or in those with sinus rhythm), aspirin (high or low dose), blood pressure reduction, carotid and vertebral percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA), carotid endarterectomy (in people with: asymptomatic but severe carotid artery stenosis, less than 0% symptomatic carotid artery stenosis, moderate [30%-49%] symptomatic carotid artery stenosis, moderately severe [50%-69%] symptomatic carotid artery stenosis, severe [greater than 70%] symptomatic carotid artery stenosis, or symptomatic near occlusion of the carotid artery), cholesterol reduction, vitamin B supplements (including folate), and different regimens to lower blood pressure.
Key Points
Prevention in this context is the long-term management of people with previous stroke or TIA, and of people at high risk of stroke for other reasons, such as atrial fibrillation. Risk factors for stroke include: previous stroke or TIA; increasing age; hypertension; diabetes; cigarette smoking; and emboli associated with atrial fibrillation, artificial heart valves, or MI.
Antiplatelet treatment effectively reduces the risk of stroke in people with previous stroke or TIA. High-dose aspirin (500-1500 mg/day) seems as equally effective as low-dose aspirin (75-150 mg/day), although it may increase GI adverse effects. Adding dipyridamole to aspirin is beneficial in reducing composite vascular end points and stroke compared with aspirin alone. Risk reduction appears greater with extended-release compared with immediate-release dipyridamole.The net risk of recurrent stroke or major haemorrhagic event is similar with clopidogrel and aspirin plus dipyridamole.
Treatments to reduce blood pressure are effective for reducing the risk of serious vascular events in people with previous stroke or TIA. Blood pressure reduction seems beneficial irrespective of the type of qualifying cerebrovascular event (ischaemic or haemorrhagic), or even whether people are hypertensive.Aggressive blood pressure lowering should not be considered in people with acute stenosis of the carotid or vertebral arteries, because of the risk of precipitating a stroke.
Carotid endarterectomy effectively reduces the risk of stroke in people with greater than 50% carotid stenosis, is not effective in people with 30% to 49% carotid stenosis, and increases the risk of stroke in people with less than 30% stenosis. However, it does not seem beneficial in people with near occlusion.
Cholesterol reduction using statins seems to reduce the risk of stroke irrespective of baseline cholesterol or coronary artery disease (CAD). Non-statin cholesterol reduction does not seem to reduce the risk of stroke.
We found insufficient evidence to judge the efficacy of carotid percutaneous transluminal angioplasty, carotid percutaneous transluminal angioplasty plus stenting, or vertebral percutaneous transluminal angioplasty in people with recent carotid or vertebral TIA or stenosis.
Vitamin B supplements (including folate) do not seem beneficial in reducing mortality or the risk of stroke.
Anticoagulation does not seem beneficial in reducing stroke in people with previous ischaemic stroke and normal sinus rhythm, but does increase the risk of intra- and extracranial haemorrhage. This is especially true for patients with TIAs or minor ischaemic stroke as the qualifying event.
In people with atrial fibrillation, oral anticoagulants reduce the risk of stroke in people with previous stroke or TIA, and in people with no previous stroke or TIA who are at high risk of stroke or TIA, but we don't know whether they are effective in people with no previous stroke or TIA who are at low risk of stroke or TIA. In people with atrial fibrillation, we don't know whether aspirin reduces the risk of stroke in people with previous stroke or TIA, or in people without previous stroke or TIA who are at low risk of stroke or TIA, but they may be unlikely to be effective in people without previous stroke or TIA who are at high risk of stroke or TIA.
PMCID: PMC2907594
11.  Secondary prevention of ischaemic cardiac events 
Clinical Evidence  2011;2011:0206.
Introduction
Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of mortality in resource-rich countries, and is becoming a major cause of morbidity and mortality in resource-poor countries. Secondary prevention in this context is long-term treatment to prevent recurrent cardiac morbidity and mortality in people who have had either a prior acute myocardial infarction (MI) or acute coronary syndrome, or who are at high risk due to severe coronary artery stenoses or prior coronary surgical procedures. Secondary prevention in people with an acute MI or acute coronary syndrome within the past 6 months is not included.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of antithrombotic treatment; other drug treatments; cholesterol reduction; blood pressure reduction; non-drug treatments; and revascularisation procedures? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to May 2010 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 137 systematic reviews or RCTs that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review, we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: advice to eat less fat, advice to eat more fibre, advice to increase consumption of fish oils, amiodarone, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers, angiotensin II receptor blockers plus ACE inhibitors, antioxidant vitamin combinations, antiplatelet agents, aspirin, beta-blockers, beta-carotene, blood pressure reduction, calcium channel blockers, cardiac rehabilitation including exercise, class I antiarrhythmic agents, coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), fibrates, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), Mediterranean diet, multivitamins, non-specific cholesterol reduction, oral anticoagulants, oral glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptor inhibitors, percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), psychosocial treatment, smoking cessation, statins, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
Key Points
Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of mortality in resource-rich countries, and is becoming a major cause of morbidity and mortality in resource-poor countries. Secondary prevention in this context is long-term treatment to prevent recurrent cardiac morbidity and mortality in people who have had either a prior MI or acute coronary syndrome, or who are at high risk due to severe coronary artery stenoses or prior coronary surgical procedures.
Of the antithrombotic treatments, there is good evidence that aspirin (especially combined with clopidogrel in people with acute coronary syndromes or MI), clopidogrel (more effective than aspirin), and anticoagulants all effectively reduce the risk of cardiovascular events. Oral anticoagulants substantially increase the risk of haemorrhage. These risks may outweigh the benefits when combined with antiplatelet treatments.Adding oral glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptor inhibitors to aspirin seems to increase the risk of mortality compared with aspirin alone.
Other drug treatments that reduce mortality include beta-blockers (after MI and in people with left ventricular dysfunction), ACE inhibitors (in people at high risk, after MI, or with left ventricular dysfunction), and amiodarone (in people with MI and high risk of death from cardiac arrhythmia). There is conflicting evidence on the effect of calcium channel blockers. Some types may be effective at reducing mortality in the absence of heart failure, whereas others may be harmful.Contrary to decades of large observational studies, multiple RCTs show no cardiac benefit from HRT in postmenopausal women.
Lipid-lowering treatments effectively reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality and non-fatal cardiovascular events in people with CHD.
There is good evidence that statins reduce the risk of mortality and cardiac events in people at high risk, but the evidence is less clear for fibrates.
The magnitude of cardiovascular risk reduction in people with coronary artery disease correlates directly with the magnitude of blood pressure reduction.
Cardiac rehabilitation (including exercise) and smoking cessation reduce the risk of cardiac events in people with CHD. Antioxidant vitamins (such as vitamin E, beta-carotene, or vitamin C) have no effect on cardiovascular events in high-risk people, and in some cases may actually increase risk of cardiac mortality.We don't know whether changing diet alters the risk of cardiac episodes, although a Mediterranean diet may have some survival benefit over a Western diet. Advice to increase fish oil consumption or fish oil consumption may be beneficial in some population groups. However, evidence was weak.Some psychological interventions may be more effective than usual care at improving some cardiovascular outcomes. However, evidence was inconsistent.
In selected people, such as those with more-extensive coronary disease and impaired left ventricular function, CABG may improve survival compared with an initial strategy of medical treatment. We don't know how PTCA compares with medical treatment.
We found no consistent difference in mortality or recurrent MI between CABG and PTCA with or without stenting, because of varied results among subgroups and insufficient evidence on stenting when comparing the interventions. CABG may be more effective than PTCA with or without stenting at reducing some composite outcomes, particularly those including repeat revascularisation rates. PTCA with stenting may be more effective than PTCA alone.
PMCID: PMC3217663  PMID: 21875445
12.  COST-UTILITY OF ASPIRIN AND PROTON PUMP INHIBITORS FOR PRIMARY PREVENTION 
Archives of internal medicine  2011;171(3):218-225.
Background
Aspirin reduces myocardial infarction but increases gastrointestinal bleeding. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) may reduce upper gastrointestinal bleed. We estimate the cost-utility of aspirin treatment with or without PPI for coronary heart disease (CHD) prevention among men at different risks for CHD and gastrointestinal bleed.
Methods
We updated a Markov model to compare costs and outcomes of low-dose aspirin+PPI (omeprazole 20-mg daily), low-dose aspirin alone, or no treatment for CHD prevention. We performed lifetime analyses in men with different risks for cardiovascular events and gastrointestinal bleed. Aspirin reduced nonfatal myocardial infarction by 30%, increased total stroke by 6%, and increased gastrointestinal bleed risk 2-fold. Adding PPI reduced upper gastrointestinal bleed by 80%. Annual aspirin cost was $13.99; generic PPI was $200.
Results
In 45-year-old men with 10-year CHD risk of 10% and 0.8/1,000 annual gastrointestinal bleed risk, aspirin ($17,571 and 18.67 quality-adjusted life years [QALYs]) was more effective and less costly than no treatment ($18,483 and 18.44 QALYs). Compared with aspirin alone, aspirin+PPI ($21,037 and 18.68 QALYs) had an incremental cost/QALY of $447,077. Results were similar in 55- and 65-year-old men. The incremental cost/QALY of adding PPI was less than $50,000/QALY at annual gastrointestinal bleed probabilities greater than 4–6/1,000.
Conclusion
Aspirin for CHD prevention is less costly and more effective than no treatment in men over 45 with greater than 10-year, 10% CHD risks. Adding PPI is not cost-effective for men with average gastrointestinal bleed risk but may be cost-effective for selected men at increased risk for gastrointestinal bleed.
doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2010.525
PMCID: PMC3137269  PMID: 21325111
13.  Aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in diabetes mellitus 
Nature reviews. Endocrinology  2010;6(11):619-628.
Aspirin is effective for the prevention of cardiovascular events in patients with a history of vascular disease, as so-called secondary prevention. In general populations with no history of previous myocardial infarction or stroke, aspirin also seems useful for primary prevention of cardiovascular events, although the absolute benefits are smaller than those seen in patients with previous cardiovascular disease. Patients with diabetes mellitus are at an increased risk of cardiovascular events, but new trials have raised questions about the benefit of aspirin for primary prevention in patients with this disorder. This Review comprehensively examines the basic pharmacology of aspirin and provides an overview of the randomized, controlled trials of aspirin therapy that have included patients with diabetes mellitus. On the basis of currently available evidence from primary prevention trials, aspirin is estimated to reduce the relative risk of myocardial infarction and stroke by about 10% in patients with diabetes mellitus; however, aspirin also increases the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. As such, low-dose aspirin therapy (75–162 mg) is reasonable for patients with diabetes mellitus and a 10-year risk of cardiovascular events >10%. Results from upcoming large trials will help clarify the effects of aspirin with greater precision, including whether the benefits differ between men and women.
doi:10.1038/nrendo.2010.169
PMCID: PMC3145323  PMID: 20856266
14.  Secondary prevention of ischaemic cardiac events 
BMJ Clinical Evidence  2009;2009:0206.
Introduction
Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of mortality in resource-rich countries, and is becoming a major cause of morbidity and mortality in resource-poor countries. Secondary prevention in this context is long-term treatment to prevent recurrent cardiac morbidity and mortality in people who have had either a prior acute myocardial infarction (MI) or acute coronary syndrome, or who are at high risk due to severe coronary artery stenoses or prior coronary surgical procedures.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of antithrombotic treatment; other drug treatments; cholesterol reduction; blood pressure reduction; non-drug treatments; and revascularisation procedures? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to October 2007 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 154 systematic reviews or RCTs that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review. we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: advice to eat less fat; advice to eat more fibre; advice to increase consumption of fish oils; amiodarone; angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors; angiotensin II receptor blockers; angiotensin II receptor blockers plus ACE inhibitors; antioxidant vitamin combinations; antiplatelet agents; beta-blockers; beta-carotene; blood pressure reduction; calcium channel blockers; cardiac rehabilitation including exercise; class I antiarrhythmic agents; coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG); percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI); fibrates; hormone replacement therapy (HRT); Mediterranean diet; multivitamins; non-specific cholesterol reduction; oral anticoagulants; oral glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptor inhibitors; psychosocial treatment; smoking cessation; statins; vitamin C; and vitamin E.
Key Points
Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of mortality in resource-rich countries, and is becoming a major cause of morbidity and mortality in resource-poor countries. Secondary prevention in this context is long-term treatment to prevent recurrent cardiac morbidity and mortality in people who have had either a prior MI or acute coronary syndrome, or who are at high risk due to severe coronary artery stenoses or prior coronary surgical procedures.
Of the antithrombotic treatments, there is good evidence that aspirin (especially combined with clopidogrel in people with acute coronary syndromes or MI), clopidogrel (more effective than aspirin), and anticoagulants all effectively reduce the risk of cardiovascular events. Oral anticoagulants substantially increase the risk of haemorrhage. These risks may outweigh the benefits when combined with antiplatelet treatments. Adding oral glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptor inhibitors to aspirin seems to increase the risk of mortality compared with aspirin alone.
Other drug treatments that reduce mortality include beta-blockers (after MI and in people with left ventricular dysfunction), ACE inhibitors (in people at high risk, after MI, or with left ventricular dysfunction), angiotensin II receptor blockers (in people with coronary artery disease), and amiodarone (in people with MI and high risk of death from cardiac arrhythmia). There is conflicting evidence on the effect of calcium channel blockers. Some types may be effective at reducing mortality in the absence of heart failure, whereas other may be harmful.Contrary to decades of large observational studies, multiple RCTs show no cardiac benefit from HRT in postmenopausal women.
Lipid-lowering treatments effectively reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality and non-fatal cardiovascular events in people with CHD.
There is good evidence that statins reduce the risk of mortality and cardiac events in people at high risk, but the evidence is less clear for fibrates.
The magnitude of cardiovascular risk reduction in people with coronary artery disease correlates directly with the magnitude of blood pressure reduction.
Cardiac rehabilitation (including exercise), and smoking cessation all reduce the risk of cardiac events in people with CHD. Antioxidant vitamins (such as vitamin E, beta-carotene, or vitamin C) have no effect on cardiovascular events in high-risk people, and in some cases may actually increase risk of cardiac mortality.We don't know whether changing diet alters the risk of cardiac episodes, although a Mediterranean diet may have some survival benefit over a Western diet.
In selected people, such as those with more-extensive coronary disease and impaired left ventricular function, CABG may improve survival compared with an initial strategy of medical treatment. We don't know how PTCA compares with medical treatment.
We found no consistent difference in mortality or recurrent MI between CABG and PTCA with or without stenting,due to varied results among subgroups and insufficient evidence on stenting when comparing the interventions. PTCA with stenting may be more effective than PTCA alone.
PMCID: PMC2907785
15.  Discontinuation of low dose aspirin and risk of myocardial infarction: case-control study in UK primary care 
Objectives To evaluate the risk of myocardial infarction and death from coronary heart disease after discontinuation of low dose aspirin in primary care patients with a history of cardiovascular events.
Design Nested case-control study.
Setting The Health Improvement Network (THIN) database in the United Kingdom.
Participants Individuals aged 50-84 with a first prescription for aspirin (75-300 mg/day) for secondary prevention of cardiovascular outcomes in 2000-7 (n=39 513).
Main outcome measures Individuals were followed up for a mean of 3.2 years to identify cases of non-fatal myocardial infarction or death from coronary heart disease. A nested case-control analysis assessed the risk of these events in those who had stopped taking low dose aspirin compared with those who had continued treatment.
Results There were 876 non-fatal myocardial infarctions and 346 deaths from coronary heart disease. Compared with current users, people who had recently stopped taking aspirin had a significantly increased risk of non-fatal myocardial infarction or death from coronary heart disease combined (rate ratio 1.43, 95% confidence interval 1.12 to 1.84) and non-fatal myocardial infarction alone (1.63, 1.23 to 2.14). There was no significant association between recently stopping low dose aspirin and the risk of death from coronary heart disease (1.07, 0.67 to 1.69). For every 1000 patients, over a period of one year there were about four more cases of non-fatal myocardial infarction among patients who discontinued treatment with low dose aspirin (recent discontinuers) compared with patients who continued treatment.
Conclusions Individuals with a history of cardiovascular events who stop taking low dose aspirin are at increased risk of non-fatal myocardial infarction compared with those who continue treatment.
doi:10.1136/bmj.d4094
PMCID: PMC3139911  PMID: 21771831
16.  Aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular events in people with diabetes: meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials 
Objective To evaluate the benefits and harms of low dose aspirin in people with diabetes and no cardiovascular disease.
Design Meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.
Data sources Medline (1966-November 2008), the Cochrane central register of controlled trials (Cochrane Library 2008;issue 4), and reference lists of retrieved articles.
Review methods Randomised trials of aspirin compared with placebo or no aspirin in people with diabetes and no pre-existing cardiovascular disease were eligible for inclusion. Data on major cardiovascular events (death from cardiovascular causes, non-fatal myocardial infarction, non-fatal stroke, and all cause mortality) were extracted and pooled with a random effect model. Results are reported as relative risks with 95% confidence intervals.
Results Of 157 studies in the literature searches, six were eligible (10 117 participants). When aspirin was compared with placebo there was no statistically significant reduction in the risk of major cardiovascular events (five studies, 9584 participants; relative risk 0.90, 95% confidence interval 0.81 to 1.00), cardiovascular mortality (four studies, n=8557, 0.94; 0.72 to 1.23), or all cause mortality (four studies, n=8557; 0.93, 0.82 to 1.05). Significant heterogeneity was found in the analysis for myocardial infarction (I2=62.2%; P=0.02) and stroke (I2=52.5%; P=0.08). Aspirin significantly reduced the risk of myocardial infarction in men (0.57, 0.34 to 0.94) but not in women (1.08, 0.71 to 1.65; P for interaction=0.056). Evidence relating to harms was inconsistent.
Conclusions A clear benefit of aspirin in the primary prevention of major cardiovascular events in people with diabetes remains unproved. Sex may be an important effect modifier. Toxicity is to be explored further.
doi:10.1136/bmj.b4531
PMCID: PMC2774388  PMID: 19897665
17.  Aspirin in Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer: A Systematic Review of the Balance of Evidence from Reviews of Randomized Trials 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e81970.
Background
Aspirin has been recommended for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer, but overall benefits are unclear. We aimed to use novel methods to re-evaluate the balance of benefits and harms of aspirin using evidence from randomised controlled trials, systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
Methods and Findings
Data sources included ten electronic bibliographic databases, contact with experts, and scrutiny of reference lists of included studies. Searches were undertaken in September 2012 and restricted to publications since 2008. Of 2,572 potentially relevant papers 27 met the inclusion criteria. Meta-analysis of control arms to estimate event rates, modelling of all-cause mortality and L'Abbé plots to estimate heterogeneity were undertaken. Absolute benefits and harms were low: 60-84 major CVD events and 34-36 colorectal cancer deaths per 100,000 person-years were averted, whereas 46-49 major bleeds and 68-117 gastrointestinal bleeds were incurred. Reductions in all-cause mortality were minor and uncertain (Hazard Ratio 0.96; 95% CI: 0.90-1.02 at 20 years, Relative Risk [RR] 0.94, 95% CI: 0.88-1.00 at 8 years); there was a non-significant change in total CVD (RR 0.85, 95% CI: 0.69-1.06) and change in total cancer mortality ranged from 0.76 (95% CI: 0.66-0.88) to 0.93 (95% CI: 0.84-1.03) depending on follow-up time and studies included. Risks were increased by 37% for gastrointestinal bleeds (RR 1.37, 95% CI: 1.15-1.62), 54%-66% for major bleeds (Rate Ratio from IPD analysis 1.54, 95% CI: 1.30-1.82, and RR 1.62, 95% CI: 1.31-2.00), and 32%-38% for haemorrhagic stroke (Rate Ratio from IPD analysis 1.32; 95% CI: 1.00-1.74; RR 1.38; 95% CI: 1.01-1.82).
Conclusions
Findings indicate small absolute effects of aspirin relative to the burden of these diseases. When aspirin is used for primary prevention of CVD the absolute harms exceed the benefits. Estimates of cancer benefit rely on selective retrospective re-analysis of RCTs and more information is needed.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081970
PMCID: PMC3855368  PMID: 24339983
18.  Collaborative overview of randomised trials of antiplatelet therapy--II: Maintenance of vascular graft or arterial patency by antiplatelet therapy. Antiplatelet Trialists' Collaboration. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1994;308(6922):159-168.
OBJECTIVE--To determine the efficacy of antiplatelet therapy in maintaining vascular patency in various categories of patients. DESIGN--Overviews of 46 randomised trials of antiplatelet therapy versus control and 14 randomised trials comparing one antiplatelet regimen with another. SETTING--Randomised trials that could have been available by March 1990 and in which vascular graft or arterial patency was to be studied systematically. SUBJECTS--About 8000 patients at varying degrees of risk of vascular occlusion (by virtue of disease or of having some vascular procedure) were in trials of antiplatelet therapy versus control and 4000 such patients were in trials directly comparing different antiplatelet regimens. RESULTS--Overall, antiplatelet therapy produced a highly significant (2P < 0.0001) reduction in vascular occlusion, with similar proportional reductions in several different types of patients. Hence the absolute reductions tended to be largest among patients at highest risk of occlusion, with smaller but still significant absolute reductions among lower risk patients. The proportions of patients with confirmed occlusion among those allocated antiplatelet therapy versus appropriately adjusted control proportions (and mean scheduled treatment durations and net absolute benefits) were: (a) among about 4000 patients with coronary artery grafts, 21% antiplatelet therapy v 30% control (seven month benefit about 90 patients protected per 1000 allocated antiplatelet therapy (2P < 0.00001)); (b) among about 800 patients after coronary angioplasty, 4% antiplatelet therapy v 8% control (six month benefit about 40/1000 (2P = 0.02)); (c) among about 3000 patients with peripheral artery procedures or disease, 16% antiplatelet therapy v 25% control (19 month benefit about 90/1000 (2P < 0.00001)); (d) among about 400 renal patients with a shunt or fistula placed for haemodialysis access, 17% antiplatelet therapy v 39% control (two month benefit about 200/1000 (2P < 0.00001)). Indirect comparisons between the effects of starting treatment before these vascular procedures and starting soon after them indicated similar sized benefits. As well as preventing subclinical occlusion, antiplatelet therapy produced a significant (2P = 0.002) reduction of about one quarter in the odds of suffering a "vascular event" (non-fatal myocardial infarction, non-fatal stroke, or vascular death). Various antiplatelet regimens (chiefly aspirin alone or aspirin plus dipyridamole) were studied but there was no significant evidence of differences between their effects on arterial occlusion or vascular events. Data on bleeding were incomplete but no large excess with antiplatelet therapy was apparent. CONCLUSION--Antiplatelet therapy (chiefly aspirin alone or aspirin plus dipyridamole) greatly reduces the risk of vascular occlusion in a wide range of patients at high risk of this complication. Further studies are required to determine exactly when treatment should start (to limit any perioperative bleeding while still preventing most early occlusion) and for how long it should be continued.
PMCID: PMC2542519  PMID: 8312766
19.  Collaborative overview of randomised trials of antiplatelet therapy--I: Prevention of death, myocardial infarction, and stroke by prolonged antiplatelet therapy in various categories of patients. Antiplatelet Trialists' Collaboration. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1994;308(6921):81-106.
OBJECTIVE--To determine the effects of "prolonged" antiplatelet therapy (that is, given for one month or more) on "vascular events" (non-fatal myocardial infarctions, non-fatal strokes, or vascular deaths) in various categories of patients. DESIGN--Overviews of 145 randomised trials of "prolonged" antiplatelet therapy versus control and 29 randomised comparisons between such antiplatelet regimens. SETTING--Randomised trials that could have been available by March 1990. SUBJECTS--Trials of antiplatelet therapy versus control included about 70,000 "high risk" patients (that is, with some vascular disease or other condition implying an increased risk of occlusive vascular disease) and 30,000 "low risk" subjects from the general population. Direct comparisons of different antiplatelet regimens involved about 10,000 high risk patients. RESULTS--In each of four main high risk categories of patients antiplatelet therapy was definitely protective. The percentages of patients suffering a vascular event among those allocated antiplatelet therapy versus appropriately adjusted control percentages (and mean scheduled treatment durations and net absolute benefits) were: (a) among about 20,000 patients with acute myocardial infarction, 10% antiplatelet therapy v 14% control (one month benefit about 40 vascular events avoided per 1000 patients treated (2P < 0.00001)); (b) among about 20,000 patients with a past history of myocardial infarction, 13% antiplatelet therapy v 17% control (two year benefit about 40/1000 (2P < 0.00001)); (c) among about 10,000 patients with a past history of stroke or transient ischaemic attack, 18% antiplatelet therapy v 22% control (three year benefit about 40/1000 (2P < 0.00001)); (d) among about 20,000 patients with some other relevant medical history (unstable angina, stable angina, vascular surgery, angioplasty, atrial fibrillation, valvular disease, peripheral vascular disease, etc), 9% v 14% in 4000 patients with unstable angina (six month benefit about 50/1000 (2P < 0.00001)) and 6% v 8% in 16,000 other high risk patients (one year benefit about 20/1000 (2P < 0.00001)). Reductions in vascular events were about one quarter in each of these four main categories and were separately statistically significant in middle age and old age, in men and women, in hypertensive and normotensive patients, and in diabetic and nondiabetic patients. Taking all high risk patients together showed reductions of about one third in non-fatal myocardial infarction, about one third in non-fatal stroke, and about one third in vascular death (each 2P < 0.00001). There was no evidence that non-vascular deaths were increased, so in each of the four main high risk categories overall mortality was significantly reduced. The most widely tested antiplatelet regimen was "medium dose" (75-325 mg/day) aspirin. Doses throughout this range seemed similarly effective (although in an acute emergency it might be prudent to use an initial dose of 160-325 mg rather than about 75 mg). There was no appreciable evidence that either a higher aspirin dose or any other antiplatelet regimen was more effective than medium dose aspirin in preventing vascular events. The optimal duration of treatment for patients with a past history of myocardial infarction, stroke, or transient ischaemic attack could not be determined directly because most trials lasted only one, two, or three years (average about two years). Nevertheless, there was significant (2P < 0.0001) further benefit between the end of year 1 and the end of year 3, suggesting that longer treatment might well be more effective. Among low risk recipients of "primary prevention" a significant reduction of one third in non-fatal myocardial infarction was, however, accompanied by a non-significant increase in stroke. Furthermore, the absolute reduction in vascular events was much smaller than for high risk patients despite a much longer treatment period (4.4% antiplatelet therapy v 4.8% control; five year
PMCID: PMC2539220  PMID: 8298418
20.  Aspirin for primary prevention of vascular events in women: individualized prediction of treatment effects 
European Heart Journal  2011;32(23):2962-2969.
Aims
To identify women who benefit from aspirin 100 mg on alternate days for primary prevention of vascular events by using treatment effect prediction based on individual patient characteristics.
Methods and results
Randomized controlled trial data from the Women's Health Study were used to predict treatment effects for individual women in terms of absolute risk reduction for major cardiovascular events (i.e. myocardial infarction, stroke, or cardiovascular death). Predictions were based on existing risk scores, i.e. Framingham (FRS), and Reynolds (RRS), and on a newly developed prediction model. The net benefit of different aspirin treatment-strategies was compared: (i) treat no one, (ii) treat everyone, (iii) treatment according to the current guidelines (i.e. selective treatment of women >65 years of age or having >10% FRS), and (iv) prediction-based treatment (i.e. selective treatment of patients whose predicted treatment effect exceeds a given decision threshold). The predicted reduction in 10-year absolute risk for major cardiovascular events was <1% in 97.8% of 27 939 study subjects when based on the refitted FRS, in 97.0% when based on the refitted RRS, and in 90.0% when based on the newly developed model. Of the treatment strategies considered, only prediction-based treatment using the newly developed model and selective treatment of women >65 years of age yielded more net benefit than treating no one, provided that the 10-year number-willing-to-treat (NWT) to prevent one cardiovascular event was above 50.
Conclusion
Aspirin was ineffective or even harmful in the majority of patients. Age was positively related to treatment effect, whereas current smoking and baseline risk for cardiovascular events were not. When the NWT is 50 or lower, the aspirin treatment strategy that is associated with optimal net benefit in primary prevention of vascular events in women is to treat none.
Trial registration information: Clinicaltrials.gov identifier number: NCT00000479.
doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehr423
PMCID: PMC3227855  PMID: 22090661
Aspirin; Primary prevention; Treatment effect prediction; Net benefit
21.  Epidemiological modelling of routine use of low dose aspirin for the primary prevention of coronary heart disease and stroke in those aged ≥70 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2005;330(7503):1306.
Objective To investigate the routine use of low dose aspirin in people aged ≥ 70 without overt cardiovascular disease.
Design Epidemiological modelling in a hypothetical population.
Setting Reference populations of men and women in the year 2000 from the state of Victoria, Australia.
Subjects 10 000 men and 10 000 women aged 70-74 with no cardiovascular disease.
Main outcome measures First ever myocardial infarction or unstable angina, ischaemic or haemorrhagic stroke, and major gastrointestinal haemorrhage. Health adjusted years of life lived.
Results The proportional benefit gained from the use of low dose aspirin by the prevention of myocardial infarctions (-389 in men, -321 in women) and ischaemic stroke (-19 in men and -35 in women) is offset by excess gastrointestinal (499 in men, 572 in women) and intracranial (76 in men, 54 in women) bleeding. The results in health adjusted years of life lived (which take into account length and quality of life) are equivocal for aspirin causing net harm or net benefit.
Conclusion Epidemiological modelling suggests that any benefits of low dose aspirin on risk of cardiovascular disease in people aged ≥ 70 are offset by adverse events. These findings are tempered by wide confidence intervals, indicating that the overall outcome could be beneficial or adverse.
doi:10.1136/bmj.38456.676806.8F
PMCID: PMC558207  PMID: 15908442
22.  Early and late effects of coumarin therapy started before percutaneous coronary intervention 
Netherlands Heart Journal  2002;10(5):235-240.
Background
Coronary angioplasty frequently creates a thrombogenic surface with subsequent mural thrombosis that may lead to acute complications and possibly stimulates the development of restenosis. Whether coumarins can prevent these complications is unclear.
Methods
In the Balloon Angioplasty and Anticoagulation Study (BAAS), the effect of coumarins started before the procedure on early and late outcome was studied. Patients were randomised to aspirin only or to aspirin plus coumarins. Half of the patients were randomised to undergo six-month angiographic follow-up. Study medication was started one week before coronary angioplasty and the target international normalised ratio (INR) was 2.1-4.8 during angioplasty and six-month follow-up. 'Optimal' anticoagulation was defined as an INR in the target range for at least 70% of the follow-up time. In addition, cost-effectiveness of coumarin treatment was measured.
Results
At one year death, myocardial infarction, target-lesion revascularisation and stroke were observed in 14.3% of the 530 patients randomised to aspirin plus coumarin versus in 20.3% of the 528 patients randomised to aspirin alone (relative risk 0.71; 95% CI 0.54-0.93). The incidence of major bleedings and false aneurysms during hospitalisation was 3.2% and 1.0%, respectively, (relative risk 3.39; 95% CI 1.26-9.11). Optimal anticoagulation was an independent predictor of late thrombotic events (relative risk, 0.33; 95% CI, 0.19-0.57). Quantitative coronary analysis was performed of 301 lesions in the ASA group and of 297 lesions in the coumarin group. At six months, the minimal luminal diameter was similar in the ASA and coumarin group. However, optimal anticoagulation was an independent predictor of angiographic outcome at six months. Optimal anticoagulation led to a 0.21 mm (95% CI: 0.05-0.37) larger MLD as compared with suboptimal anticoagulation whereas aspirin use led to a 0.12 mm (95% CI -0.28-0.04) smaller MLD. When including all costs, the savings associated with coumarin treatment were estimated at € 235 per patient after one year.
Conclusions
Coumarin pretreatment reduces early and late events in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention at the expense of a small increase in nonfatal bleeding complications. Furthermore, an optimal level of anticoagulation is associated with a significantly better outcome as compared with a suboptimal level of anticoagulation. In addition, coumarin treatment reduces costs.
Images
PMCID: PMC2499720
coumarin therapy; percutaneous coronary intervention
23.  The polypill in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease: cost-effectiveness in the Dutch population 
BMJ Open  2011;1(2):e000363.
Objectives
The aim of the present study was to estimate the cost-effectiveness of the polypill in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Design
A health economic modelling study.
Setting
Primary healthcare in the Netherlands.
Participants
Simulated individuals from the general Dutch population, aged 45–75 years.
Interventions
Opportunistic screening followed by prescription of the polypill to eligible individuals. Eligibility was defined as having a minimum 10-year risk of cardiovascular death as assessed with the Systematic Coronary Risk Evaluation function of alternatively 5%, 7.5% or 10%. Different versions of the polypill were considered, depending on composition: (1) the Indian polycap, with three different types of blood pressure-lowering drugs, a statin and aspirin; (2) as (1) but without aspirin and (3) as (2) but with a double statin dose. In addition, a scenario of (targeted) separate antihypertensive and/or statin medication was simulated.
Primary outcome measures
Cases of acute myocardial infarction or stroke prevented, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained and the costs per QALY gained. All interventions were compared with usual care.
Results
All scenarios were cost-effective with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio between €7900 and 12 300 per QALY compared with usual care. Most health gains were achieved with the polypill without aspirin and containing a double dose of statins. With a 10-year risk of 7.5% as the threshold, this pill would prevent approximately 3.5% of all cardiovascular events.
Conclusions
Opportunistic screening based on global cardiovascular risk assessment followed by polypill prescription to those with increased risk offers a cost-effective strategy. Most health gain is achieved by the polypill without aspirin and a double statin dose.
Article summary
Article focus
Cardiovascular diseases continue to be still a major, partly preventable, cause of illness and death.
A polypill that lowers by targeting several risk factors simultaneously is in line with the concept that the aim in primary prevention should be to bring down ‘global’ cardiovascular risk.
The aim of this study was to estimate the potential cost-effectiveness of polypill prescription after opportunistic screening.
Key messages
The results of this study suggest that opportunistic screening and offering a polypill to people with a minimum 10-year risk of cardiovascular mortality of alternatively 5%, 7.5% or 10% is a cost-effective strategy.
A polypill without aspirin but with a double dose of simvastatin leads to most health gains at all risk thresholds considered. At a 10-year risk of cardiovascular death of ≥7.5%, such a strategy would lead to an estimated decrease in the incidence of myocardial infarction and stroke of about 3.5%, at a cost of €8900 per quality-adjusted life year.
Opportunistic screening of the population of ≥40 years to select individuals with a mild to moderately increased risk for cardiovascular diseases, followed by polypill prescription would prevent approximately 3.5% of all cardiovascular events.
Strengths and limitations of this study
Strong point of the study is that different compositions of the polypill have been modelled. Also, realistic estimates for adherence and compliance have been used.
As only preliminary results of a phase II clinical trial on efficacy of the polypill were available, we had to apply mathematical modelling to estimate cost-effectiveness. This provides insight into the range of health benefits that can be expected. Pending results with regard to established clinical endpoints from large-scale phase III trials, the results of this study should not be taken as a precise estimate of the cost-effectiveness of the polypill.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000363
PMCID: PMC3278482  PMID: 22189351
24.  The Effect of Tobacco Control Measures during a Period of Rising Cardiovascular Disease Risk in India: A Mathematical Model of Myocardial Infarction and Stroke 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(7):e1001480.
In this paper from Basu and colleagues, a simulation of tobacco control and pharmacological interventions to prevent cardiovascular disease mortality in India predicted that Smokefree laws and increased tobacco taxation are likely to be the most effective measures to avert future cardiovascular deaths in India.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
We simulated tobacco control and pharmacological strategies for preventing cardiovascular deaths in India, the country that is expected to experience more cardiovascular deaths than any other over the next decade.
Methods and Findings
A microsimulation model was developed to quantify the differential effects of various tobacco control measures and pharmacological therapies on myocardial infarction and stroke deaths stratified by age, gender, and urban/rural status for 2013 to 2022. The model incorporated population-representative data from India on multiple risk factors that affect myocardial infarction and stroke mortality, including hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, coronary heart disease, and cerebrovascular disease. We also included data from India on cigarette smoking, bidi smoking, chewing tobacco, and secondhand smoke. According to the model's results, smoke-free legislation and tobacco taxation would likely be the most effective strategy among a menu of tobacco control strategies (including, as well, brief cessation advice by health care providers, mass media campaigns, and an advertising ban) for reducing myocardial infarction and stroke deaths over the next decade, while cessation advice would be expected to be the least effective strategy at the population level. In combination, these tobacco control interventions could avert 25% of myocardial infarctions and strokes (95% CI: 17%–34%) if the effects of the interventions are additive. These effects are substantially larger than would be achieved through aspirin, antihypertensive, and statin therapy under most scenarios, because of limited treatment access and adherence; nevertheless, the impacts of tobacco control policies and pharmacological interventions appear to be markedly synergistic, averting up to one-third of deaths from myocardial infarction and stroke among 20- to 79-y-olds over the next 10 y. Pharmacological therapies could also be considerably more potent with further health system improvements.
Conclusions
Smoke-free laws and substantially increased tobacco taxation appear to be markedly potent population measures to avert future cardiovascular deaths in India. Despite the rise in co-morbid cardiovascular disease risk factors like hyperlipidemia and hypertension in low- and middle-income countries, tobacco control is likely to remain a highly effective strategy to reduce cardiovascular deaths.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are conditions that affect the heart and/or the circulation. In coronary heart disease, for example, narrowing of the heart's blood vessels by fatty deposits slows the blood supply to the heart and may eventually cause a heart attack (myocardial infarction). Stroke, by contrast, is a CVD in which the blood supply to the brain is interrupted. CVD has been a major cause of illness and death in high-income countries for many years, but the burden of CVD is now rapidly rising in low- and middle-income countries. Indeed, worldwide, three-quarters of all deaths from heart disease and stroke occur in low- and middle-income countries. Smoking, high blood pressure (hypertension), high blood cholesterol (hyperlipidemia), diabetes, obesity, and physical inactivity all increase an individual's risk of developing CVD. Prevention strategies and treatments for CVD include lifestyle changes (for example, smoking cessation) and taking drugs that lower blood pressure (antihypertensive drugs) or blood cholesterol levels (statins) or thin the blood (aspirin).
Why Was This Study Done?
Because tobacco use is a key risk factor for CVD and for several other noncommunicable diseases, the World Health Organization has developed an international instrument for tobacco control called the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Parties to the FCTC (currently 176 countries) agree to implement a set of core tobacco control provisions including legislation to ban tobacco advertising and to increase tobacco taxes. But will tobacco control measures reduce the burden of CVD effectively in low- and middle-income countries as other risk factors for CVD are becoming more common? In this mathematical modeling study, the researchers investigated this question by simulating the effects of tobacco control measures and pharmacological strategies for preventing CVD on CVD deaths in India. Notably, many of the core FCTC provisions remain poorly implemented or unenforced in India even though it became a party to the convention in 2005. Moreover, experts predict that, over the next decade, this middle-income country will contribute more than any other nation to the global increase in CVD deaths.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers developed a microsimulation model (a computer model that operates at the level of individuals) to quantify the likely effects of various tobacco control measures and pharmacological therapies on deaths from myocardial infarction and stroke in India between 2013 and 2022. They incorporated population-representative data from India on risk factors that affect myocardial infarction and stroke mortality and on tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke into their model. They then simulated the effects of five tobacco control measures—smoke-free legislation, tobacco taxation, provision of brief cessation advice by health care providers, mass media campaigns, and advertising bans—and increased access to aspirin, antihypertensive drugs, and statins on deaths from myocardial infarction and stroke. Smoke-free legislation and tobacco taxation are likely to be the most effective strategies for reducing myocardial infarction and stroke deaths over the next decade, according to the model, and the effects of these strategies are likely to be substantially larger than those achieved by drug therapies under current health system conditions. If the effects of smoke-free legislation and tobacco taxation are additive, the model predicts that these two measures alone could avert about 9 million deaths, that is, a quarter of the expected deaths from myocardial infarction and stroke in India over the next 10 years, and that a combination of tobacco control policies and pharmacological interventions could avert up to a third of these deaths.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the implementation of smoke-free laws and the introduction of increased tobacco taxes in India would yield substantial and rapid health benefits by averting future CVD deaths. The accuracy of these findings is likely to be affected by the many assumptions included in the mathematical model and by the quality of the data fed into it. Importantly, however, these finding suggest that, despite the rise in other CVD risk factors such as hypertension and hyperlipidemia, tobacco control is likely to be a highly effective strategy for the reduction of CVD deaths over the next decade in India and probably in other low- and middle-income countries. Policymakers in these countries should, therefore, work towards fuller and faster implementation of the core FCTC provisions to boost their efforts to reduce deaths from CVD.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001480.
The American Heart Association provides information on all aspects of cardiovascular disease; its website includes personal stories about heart attacks and stroke
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on heart disease and on stroke (in English and Spanish
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about cardiovascular disease and stroke
MedlinePlus provides links to other sources of information on heart diseases, vascular diseases, and stroke (in English and Spanish)
The World Health Organization provides information (in several languages) about the dangers of tobacco, about the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and about noncommunicable diseases; its Global Noncommunicable Disease Network (NCDnet) aims to help low- and middle- income countries reduce illness and death caused by CVD and other noncommunicable diseases
SmokeFree, a website provided by the UK National Health Service, offers advice on quitting smoking and includes personal stories from people who have stopped smoking
Smokefree.gov, supported by the US National Cancer Institute and other US agencies, offers online tools and resources to help people quit smoking
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001480
PMCID: PMC3706364  PMID: 23874160
25.  Intravascular Ultrasound to Guide Percutaneous Coronary Interventions 
Executive Summary
Objective
The objective of this health technology policy assessment was to determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of using intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) as an adjunctive imaging tool to coronary angiography for guiding percutaneous coronary interventions.
Background
Intravascular Ultrasound
Intravascular ultrasound is a procedure that uses high frequency sound waves to acquire 3-dimensional images from the lumen of a blood vessel. The equipment for performing IVUS consists of a percutaneous transducer catheter and a console for reconstructing images. IVUS has been used to study the structure of the arterial wall and nature of atherosclerotic plaques, and obtain measurements of the vessel lumen. Its role in guiding stent placement is also being investigated. IVUS is presently not an insured health service in Ontario.
Clinical Need
Coronary artery disease accounts for approximately 55% of cardiovascular deaths, the leading cause of death in Canada. In Ontario, the annual mortality rate due to ischemic heart disease was 141.8 per 100,000 population between 1995 and 1997. Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), a less invasive approach to treating coronary artery disease, is used more frequently than coronary bypass surgery in Ontario. The number of percutaneous coronary intervention procedures funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care is expected to increase from approximately 17, 780 in 2004/2005 to 22,355 in 2006/2007 (an increase of 26%), with about 95% requiring the placement of one or more stents. Restenosis following percutaneous coronary interventions involving bare metal stents occurs in 15% to 30% of the cases, mainly because of smooth muscle proliferation and migration, and production of extracellular matrix. In-stent restenosis has been linked to suboptimal stent expansion and inadequate lesion coverage, while stent thrombosis has been attributed to incomplete stent-to-vessel wall apposition. Since coronary angiography (the imaging tool used to guide stent placement) has been shown to be inaccurate in assessing optimal stent placement, and IVUS can provide better views of the vessel lumen, the clinical utility of IVUS as an imaging tool adjunctive to coronary angiography in coronary intervention procedures has been explored in clinical studies.
Method
A systematic review was conducted to answer the following questions:
What are the procedure-related complications associated with IVUS?
Does IVUS used in conjunction with angiography to guide percutaneous interventions improve patient outcomes compared to angiographic guidance without IVUS?
Who would benefit most in terms of clinical outcomes from the use of IVUS adjunctive to coronary angiography in guiding PCIs?
What is the effectiveness of IVUS guidance in the context of drug-eluting stents?
What is the cost-effectiveness ratio and budget impact of adjunctive IVUS in PCIs in Ontario?
A systematic search of databases OVID MEDLINE, EMBASE, MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, The Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) database for the period beginning in May 2001 until the day of the search, November 4, 2005 yielded 2 systematic reviews, 1 meta-analysis, 6 randomized controlled trials, and 2 non-randomized studies on left main coronary arteries. The quality of the studies ranged from moderate to high. These reports were combined with reports from a previous systematic review for analysis. In addition to qualitative synthesis, pooled analyses of data from randomized controlled studies using a random effect model in the Cochrane Review Manager 4.2 software were conducted when possible.
Findings of Literature Review & Analysis
Safety
Intravascular ultrasound appears to be a safe tool when used in coronary interventions. Periprocedural complications associated with the use of IVUS in coronary interventions ranged from 0.5% in the largest study to 4%. Coronary rupture was reported in 1 study (1/54). Other complications included prolonged spasms of the artery after stenting, dissection, and femoral aneurysm.
Effectiveness
Based on pooled analyses of data from randomized controlled studies, the use of intravascular ultrasound adjunctive to coronary intervention in percutaneous coronary interventions using bare metal stents yielded the following findings:
For lesions predominantly at low risk of restenosis:
There were no significant differences in preintervention angiographic minimal lumen diameter between the IVUS-guided and angiography-guided groups.
IVUS guidance resulted in a significantly larger mean postintervention angiographic minimal lumen diameter (weighted mean difference of 0.11 mm, P = .0003) compared to angiographic guidance alone.
The benefit in angiographic minimal lumen diameter from IVUS guidance was not maintained at 6-month follow-up, when no significant difference in angiographic minimal lumen diameter could be detected between the two arms (weighted mean difference 0.08, P = .13).
There were no statistically significant differences in angiographic binary restenosis rates between IVUS-guidance and no IVUS guidance (Odds ratio [OR] 0.87 in favour of IVUS, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] [0.64–1.18], P = 0.37).
IVUS guidance resulted in a reduction in the odds of target lesion revascularization (repeat percutaneous coronary intervention or coronary bypass graft) compared to angiographic guidance alone. The reduction was statistically significant at a follow-up period of 6 months to 1 year, and at a follow-up period of 18 month to 2 years (OR 0.52 in favour of IVUS, 95% CI [0.33–0.81], P = .004).
Total revascularization rate (either target lesion or target vessel revascularization) was significantly lower for IVUS-guided patients at 18 months to 2.5 years after intervention (OR 0.43 in favour of IVUS, 95% CI [0.29–0.63], p < .0001).
There were no statistically significant differences in the odds of death (OR 1.36 in favour of no IVUS, P =0.65) or myocardial infarction (OR 0.95 in favour of IVUS, P = 0.93) between IVUS-guidance and angiographic guidance alone at up to 2.5 years of follow-up
The odds of having a major cardiac event (defined as death, myocardial infarction, and target lesion or target vessel revascularization) were significantly lower for patients with IVUS guidance compared to angiographic guidance alone during follow-up periods of up to 2.5 years (OR 0.53, 95% CI [0.36–0.78], P = 0.001). Since there were no significant reductions in the odds of death or myocardial infarction, the reduction in the odds of combined events reflected mainly the reduction in revascularization rates.
For lesions at High Risk of Restenosis:
There is evidence from one small, randomized controlled trial (n=150) that IVUS-guided percutaneous coronary intervention in long de novo lesions (>20 mm) of native coronary arteries resulted in statistically significant larger minimal lumen Diameter, and statistically significant lower 6-month angiographic binary restenosis rate. Target vessel revascularization rate and the rate of combined events were also significantly reduced at 12 months.
A small subgroup analysis of a randomized controlled trial reported no benefit in clinical or angiographic outcomes for IVUS-guided percutaneous coronary interventions in patients with diabetes compared to those guided by angiography. However, due to the nature and size of the analysis, no firm conclusions could be reached.
Based on 2 small, prospective, non-randomized controlled studies, IVUS guidance in percutaneous coronary interventions of left main coronary lesions using bare metal stents or drug-eluting stents did not result in any benefits in angiographic or clinical outcomes. These findings need to be confirmed.
Interventions Using Drug-Eluting Stents
There is presently no evidence on whether the addition of IVUS guidance during the implantation of drug-eluting stents would reduce incomplete stent apposition, or improve the angiographic or clinical outcomes of patients.
Ontario-Based Economic Analysis
Cost-effectiveness analysis showed that PCIs using IVUS guidance would likely be less costly and more effective than PCIs without IVUS guidance. The upfront cost of adjunctive use of IVUS in PCIs ranged from $1.56 million at 6% uptake to $13.04 million at 50% uptake. Taking into consideration cost avoidance from reduction in revascularization associated with the use of IVUS, a net saving of $0.63 million to $5.2 million is expected. However, since it is uncertain whether the reduction in revascularization rate resulting from the use of IVUS can be generalized to clinical settings in Ontario, further analysis on the budget impact and cost-effectiveness need to be conducted once Ontario-specific revascularization rates are verified.
Factors to be Considered in the Ontario Context
Applicability of Findings to Ontario
The interim analysis of an Ontario field evaluation that compared drug-eluting stents to bare metal stents showed that the revascularization rates in low-risk patients with bare metal stents were much lower in Ontario compared to rates reported in randomized controlled trials (7.2% vs >17 %). Even though IVUS is presently not routinely used in the stenting of low-risk patients in Ontario, the revascularization rates in these patients in Ontario were shown to be lower than those reported for the IVUS groups reported in published studies. Based on this information and previous findings from the Ontario field evaluation on stenting, it is uncertain whether the reduction in revascularization rates from IVUS guidance can be generalized to Ontario. In light of the above findings, it is advisable to validate the reported benefits of IVUS guidance in percutaneous coronary interventions involving bare metal stents in the Ontario context.
Licensing Status
As of January 16, 2006, Health Canada has licensed 10 intravascular ultrasound imaging systems/catheters for transluminal intervention procedures, most as class 4 medical devices.
Current Funding
IVUS is presently not an insured procedure under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan and there are no professional fees for this procedure. All costs related to the use of IVUS are covered within hospitals’ global budgets. A single use IVUS catheter costs approximately $900CDN and the procedure adds approximately 20 minutes to 30 minutes to a percutaneous coronary intervention procedure.
Diffusion
According to an expert consultant, current use of IVUS in coronary interventions in Ontario is probably limited to high-risk cases such as interventions in long lesions, small vessels, and bifurcated lesions for which images from coronary angiography are indeterminate. It was estimated that IVUS is being used in about 6% of all percutaneous coronary interventions at a large Ontario cardiac centre.
Expert Opinion
IVUS greatly enhances the cardiac interventionists’ ability to visualize and assess high-risk lesions such as long lesions, narrow lesions, and bifurcated lesions that may have indeterminate angiographic images. Information from IVUS in these cases facilitates the choice of the most appropriate approach for the intervention.
Conclusion
The use of adjunctive IVUS in PCIs using bare metal stents in lesions predominantly at low risk for restenosis had no significant impact on survival, myocardial infarction, or angiographic restenosis rates up to 2.5 years after intervention.
The use of IVUS adjunctive to coronary angiography in percutaneous coronary interventions using bare metal stents in lesions predominantly at low risk for restenosis significantly reduced the target lesion and target vessel revascularization at a follow-up period of 18 months to 2.5 years.
One small study suggests that adjunctive IVUS in PCIs using bare metal stents in long lesions (>20 mm) significantly improved the 6-month angiographic restenosis rate and one-year target lesion revascularization rate. These results need to be confirmed with large randomized controlled trials.
Based on information from the Ontario field evaluation on stenting, it is uncertain whether the reduction in revascularization rate resulting from the use of IVUS in the placement of bare metal stents can be generalized to clinical settings in Ontario.
There is presently insufficient evidence available to determine the impact of adjunctive IVUS in percutaneous interventions in high-risk lesions (other than long lesions) or in PCIs using drug-eluting stents.
PMCID: PMC3379536  PMID: 23074482

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