Aspirin use for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease: A study of concomitant risk factors and health behaviors

Kate L. Lapane, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island
Anne Lamont Hume, University of Rhode Island
Marilyn Mc Farland Barbour, University of Rhode Island
Richard A. Carleton, Brown University


The purpose of this paper was to describe correlates of aspirin use for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Data for this study were derived from five Pawtucket Heart Health Program household surveys conducted between 1981 and 1990 in two southeastern New England cities. Subjects were respondents who did not have a documented CVD event prior to the household interview. Cases (n 39) were participants who indicated using aspirin as an antiplatelet agent. Controls (n 117) were matched on survey date, city, sex, and age. Smoking status was associated with aspirin use for primary prevention [ORquitters 3.1, 95% CI ( 1.1-9.1); ORsmokers = 3.1, 95% CI (1.1-10.3)]. The odds of taking aspirin decreased by 69% for each one standard deviation increase in HDL. Total cholesterol, BMI, and hypertension were not associated with aspirin use while treatment for hypertension was (OR = 2.1). Attempts to quit smoking (OR 3.1), limit fat in diet (OR = 3.8), limit dietary salt (OR 4.8), and lose weight (OR 2.5) was associated with aspirin use. While individuals taking aspirin to reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease were more likely to have attempted to change their modifiable risk factors, actual risk factors of the aspirin users were not more favorable than the non-users.