Aspirin may reduce deaths in severe Covid-19

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MANY people who are hospitalized with Covid-19 have excessive blood clotting, which can be fatal.

A pilot study of hospitalized patients suggests that a low dose of the anticoagulant aspirin could reduce the need for mechanical ventilation and admission to intensive care, as well as the risk of dying. A larger clinical study will be necessary to confirm the findings.

Early in the pandemic, research showed that almost one-third of people with Covid-19 in intensive care experienced potentially fatal complications as a result of excessive blood clotting.

Another studyTrusted Source found that many of these patients had unusually “sticky” blood that tended to coagulate easily.

“As we learned about the connection between blood clots and Covid-19, we knew that aspirin — used to prevent stroke and heart attack — could be important for Covid-19 patients,” says Jonathan Chow, M.D.,

assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C.

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By “thinning” the blood, aspirin helps prevent the formation of clots, or thrombi, that can block the blood vessels supplying the heart, brain, lungs, and other vital organs.

One widely recognized limitation of aspirin as a preventive treatment is that it leads to a small increase in the risk of bleeding.

Given the low cost of aspirin and the evidence of its overall safety and efficacy in cardiovascular disease, however, Dr. Chow and his colleagues decided to conduct a pilot study of hospitalized patients with Covid-19.

Their analysis suggests that a low dose of aspirin shortly before or after hospital admission is associated with a significantly reduced risk of mechanical ventilation, admission to intensive care, and in-hospital mortality.

At the same time, the researchers found no evidence that aspirin increased the risk of bleeding.