Can aspirin help a broken heart?
Dr Geoffrey Tofler has been looking into what impact taking aspirin and metoprolol has on the heart during early bereavement.
Background: Bereavement is associated with increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) however no reports exist of interventions to reduce risk. We hypothesised that low dose metoprolol and aspirin would have a beneficial effect on CVD risk, without adverse psychological effects during early bereavement.
Methods: 85 participants were enrolled aged 66. plus or minus 9.4 years. There were 55 females, 30 males, 73 spouses and 12 parents of deceased from Northern Sydney Hospitals.
Initial assessment In less than 2 weeks of bereavement included: 24 hr Holter monitor, home blood pressure testing, blood measures, and symptoms of grief, depression and anxiety. Subjects were then randomised to 6 weeks of daily metoprolol and aspirin, or placebo, then reassessed.
Conclusions: Low dose metoprolol and aspirin reduced physiological and psychological measures of CVD risk. Although further research is needed, this therapy represents a potential preventive approach for increased CVD in early bereavement.
Read about it in Heart, Lung and Circulation.
Hear about it on May 30 when Dr Tofler will be speaking on broken hearts alongside a poet, a philosopher and divorce lawyer.