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Aspirin may be safe for stroke victims

26th January 2006

Studies indicate that patients who have suffered from a stroke caused by bleeding in the brain can be treated with aspirin to prevent further clots.

Seen as a complicated issue, some doctors have previously warned against the treatment, as they fear it could trigger another haemorrhage, while others believe it is necessary to avoid related complications.

The dilemma applies to strokes caused by bleeding in the brain, intracerebral haemorrhages, rather than a clot cutting off blood supply, known as ischemic strokes, as sufferers of the former are then at risk from heart attacks or ischemic strokes.

However, figures released by the Stroke Service at Massachusetts General Hospital show that the risk of further bleeding was no higher among those who had taken the regular doses of aspirin than for those who had not.

The study did however confirm an increased risk among patients who suffered the haemorrhage in the cerebral cortex rather than in a deeper area of the brain.

Eric Smith, senior author, explained: "While it would be premature to conclude that all patients with intracerebral haemorrhage can safely take aspirin, our results suggest it may be appropriate for some patients at elevated risk of ischemic stroke or heart disease."