Aspirin for the Prevention of Recurrent Venous ThromboembolismCLINICAL PERSPECTIVE
The INSPIRE Collaboration
Background—In patients with a first unprovoked venous thromboembolism (VTE) the risk of recurrent VTE remains high after anticoagulant treatment is discontinued. The Aspirin for the Prevention of Recurrent Venous Thromboembolism (the Warfarin and Aspirin [WARFASA]) and the Aspirin to Prevent Recurrent Venous Thromboembolism (ASPIRE) trials showed that aspirin reduces this risk, but they were not individually powered to detect treatment effects for particular outcomes or subgroups.
Methods and Results—An individual patient data analysis of these trials was planned, before their results were known, to assess the effect of aspirin versus placebo on recurrent VTE, major vascular events (recurrent VTE, myocardial infarction, stroke, and cardiovascular disease death) and bleeding, overall and within predefined subgroups. The primary analysis, for VTE, was by intention to treat using time-to-event data. Of 1224 patients, 193 had recurrent VTE over 30.4 months’ median follow-up. Aspirin reduced recurrent VTE (7.5%/yr versus 5.1%/yr; hazard ratio [HR], 0.68; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.51–0.90; P=0.008), including both deep-vein thrombosis (HR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.47–0.92; P=0.01) and pulmonary embolism (HR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.41–1.06; P=0.08). Aspirin reduced major vascular events (8.7%/yr versus 5.7%/yr; HR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.50–0.86; P=0.002). The major bleeding rate was low (0.4%/yr for placebo and 0.5%/yr for aspirin). After adjustment for treatment adherence, recurrent VTE was reduced by 42% (HR, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.40–0.85; P=0.005). Prespecified subgroup analyses indicate similar relative, but larger absolute, risk reductions in men and older patients.
Conclusions—Aspirin after anticoagulant treatment reduces the overall risk of recurrence by more than a third in a broad cross-section of patients with a first unprovoked VTE, without significantly increasing the risk of bleeding.
Clinical Trial Registration—URL: www.anzctr.org.au. Unique identifier: ACTRN12611000684921.
Patients with unprovoked venous thromboembolism (VTE) remain at high risk of recurrence after discontinuation of vitamin K antagonist therapy, with an ≈10% risk within the first year and 5% per year thereafter.1–6 Extending treatment with vitamin K antagonists reduces the risk of recurrence while treatment continues,1–7 but is associated with an increased risk of bleeding and the inconvenience of laboratory monitoring and dose adjustment.8
Editorial see p 1031
Clinical Perspective on p 1071
Several studies have evaluated the efficacy of new oral anticoagulants for the prevention of recurrent VTE as part of initial or extended treatment.9–14 They have been shown to be effective alternatives to warfarin, but still carry a risk of bleeding and are expensive. Aspirin treatment, as a low-cost and relatively safe means of preventing further events in this clinical setting, has been recently evaluated in the Aspirin for the Prevention of Recurrent Venous Thromboembolism (the Warfarin and Aspirin [WARFASA]) and the Aspirin to Prevent Recurrent Venous Thromboembolism (ASPIRE).15,16 The trials showed that aspirin reduces the risk of recurrent VTE but they were not individually powered to detect moderate treatment effects for particular outcomes or subgroups.
A combined patient-level analysis of WARFASA and ASPIRE was planned, and a protocol for this project was developed before unblinding of the results of either trial (ACTRN12611000684921). The purpose of the INSPIRE analysis was to more accurately estimate the effects of aspirin treatment: overall, on individual outcomes, and in prespecified subgroups of patients.
The ASPIRE and WARFASA studies were independent, investigator-initiated, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trials designed to examine the efficacy and safety of low-dose aspirin in the extended treatment of VTE. Eligible patients were those with a first episode of unprovoked VTE, defined as proximal deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE), who had completed initial treatment with heparin and warfarin or an equivalent anticoagulant regimen. Venous thromboembolism was considered as unprovoked when it occurred in the absence of any known specific permanent or temporary clinical risk factor. The main inclusion and exclusion criteria for the 2 studies are reported in Table I in the online-only Data Supplement.
Patients in each trial received 100 mg enteric-coated aspirin or matching placebo (Bayer HealthCare, Germany) once daily and were followed up for recurrent VTE, arterial ischemic events (myocardial infarction and stroke), bleeding, and death. Both study protocols allowed for interruption of study medication (for example, for major surgery) and for anticoagulant thromboprophylaxis for situations of risk while on the study. Patients were followed up for at least 2 years in the WARFASA trial and up to 4 years in ASPIRE.
Design and Rationale
Early in the recruitment phases of both studies, the management committees agreed to combine the data from the 2 trials in a prospective, combined patient-level analysis. Both trials had been planned with harmonization of their study designs, including similar eligibility criteria, study interventions, and definitions of outcomes.15,16 Although it was recognized that the ASPIRE and WARFASA trials would provide important information, neither was powered for reliable estimates of moderate treatment effects on particular outcomes or within particular subgroups. With a planned 2000 patients, INSPIRE would have 80% power to detect a 30% reduction in VTE. Owing to slow recruitment, the final sample size of the combined trials was 1225, giving 80% power to detect a 35% reduction.
The primary outcome for the INSPIRE study was recurrent VTE, defined as the occurrence of newly diagnosed symptomatic VTE or fatal PE. Secondary outcomes were as follows: (1) major vascular events: the composite of recurrent VTE, myocardial infarction, stroke, or cardiovascular death; and (2) recurrent VTE, myocardial infarction, stroke, all-cause mortality, and major bleeding, a measure of the net clinical benefit. In addition, the component outcomes were also reported separately in pooled analyses: PE, DVT, myocardial infarction, stroke, and cardiovascular death. Safety outcomes included major bleeding and clinically relevant nonmajor bleeding. Definitions of these outcomes have been reported.15,16 All suspected study outcome events were adjudicated by the independent outcome assessment committees for the trials.
The primary efficacy analysis compared the treatment groups on the first occurrence of VTE from randomization to a maximum of 4 years using a modified intention-to-treat principle, which included all randomized patients who had received ≥1 dose of the study drug, and was stratified by trial. Tests for heterogeneity of treatment effect between trials on each outcome were done before the combined analyses. Hazard ratios (HRs), 95% confidence intervals (CIs), and P values were estimated in an unadjusted Cox regression analysis, which was repeated for the secondary end points. Secondary analyses with adjustment for baseline risk factors were also prespecified. Survival curves were estimated by using the Kaplan–Meier procedure.
Subgroup analyses compared the effects of treatment across subgroups on the prespecified outcome of major vascular events (the composite of recurrent VTE, myocardial infarction, stroke, or cardiovascular death). The prespecified subgroups were the qualifying VTE event (DVT, PE, or both), sex, age groups (<50 years, 50–65, ≥65), anticoagulation duration (<6, 6–9, >9 months), and body mass index (<25, 25–30, ≥30 kg/m2). The primary subgroup analysis examined whether the relative treatment effects of aspirin differed across subgroup categories, by using tests for treatment-subgroup interactions. The effect of treatment on reducing VTE was also examined in these subgroups within clinically relevant categories.
Nonadherence with study medication during extended follow-up was anticipated by planned additional analyses which were specified before the trial results were unblinded. The efficacy of aspirin in a hypothetical fully adherent group was estimated by adjusting the treatment effect in the intention-to-treat analysis by the nonadherence rates averaged over the study period; the nonadherence rate was defined as the proportion of patients assigned to aspirin who discontinued it plus the proportion of patients assigned to placebo who initiated antiplatelet or anticoagulation treatment.17 A more sensitive estimate of adherence-adjusted treatment effect considered the relative reduction in VTE attributable to aspirin treatment within each year of follow-up from randomization and within each trial. An adherence-adjusted estimate was then derived from a weighted combination of these estimates, using the average adherence rates within each year and study as weights (see Methods in the online-only Data Supplement for additional details). An on-treatment analysis restricted to information from patients while they were still on study treatment was also performed. All analyses used SAS, version 9.3 (SAS Institute, Cary, NC).
Oversight of the Study
The INSPIRE study was overseen by the International Steering Committee which had final reference responsibility for verification and analyses of the data (see Appendix). The protocols of each trial and the plan to undertake a prospective combined analysis were approved by the relevant independent ethics committees.15,16 Written informed consent was obtained from all patients before randomization. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC [Australia]) Clinical Trials Centre (CTC) coordinated the analysis and checked the combined data set. Statistical analyses were undertaken at both the CTC and the Italian coordinating center. All authors contributed to the interpretation of the results and approved the final version of the paper. The INSPIRE combined analysis was supported by a grant-in-aid from the NHMRC. Aspirin and placebo tablets for both trials were supplied by Bayer HealthCare. The NHMRC and Bayer HealthCare played no role in study design, data collection, or analysis of the individual trials or the INSPIRE project.
Data from 1224 patients were included in the combined analyses: 402 from WARFASA and 822 from ASPIRE (Figure 1; 1 patient did not receive any treatment and was excluded.) Baseline characteristics were well balanced between the 2 treatment groups pooled over the 2 studies (Table 1). Patients in the WARFASA study were older, more likely to be male and be smokers, but less likely to be obese (Table 1). Patients were followed up for a median 30.4 months. Within 4 years of randomization, 193 patients had at least 1 VTE event. Patients in the intention-to-treat analyses included 12 subsequently found to not meet eligibility criteria, 31 who withdrew consent for further follow-up, and 13 lost to follow-up. The median period that patients were on the study medication was 24.2 months.
Recurrent Venous Thromboembolism
During the follow-up period, VTE occurred in 112 of 608 patients (18.4%) assigned to placebo and 81 of 616 (13.1%) assigned to aspirin (a rate of 7.5% per year versus 5.1% per year (Figure 2 and Table 2). This was a 32% relative reduction in VTE (HR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.51–0.90; P=0.008). This corresponds to needing to treat 42 patients each year to prevent 1 VTE event. After adjustment for baseline characteristics, the HR was similar (0.65; 95% CI, 0.49–0.86; P=0.003; Figure 3). There were 4 fatal recurrences of VTE (2 in each group). Aspirin reduced the rate of recurrent DVT without symptomatic PE by 34% (HR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.47–0.92; P=0.01) and PE with or without symptomatic DVT by 34% (HR, 0.66, 95% CI, 0.41–1.06, P=0.08).
Secondary Outcomes and Bleeding Events
Aspirin reduced the risk of major vascular events (symptomatic VTE, myocardial infarction, stroke, and cardiovascular death) by 34% (8.7% per year versus 5.7% per year), corresponding to 34 needed to treat per year to prevent an event. Clinically relevant bleeding occurred in 12 patients assigned placebo (7 of whom had a major bleed) and in 18 patients assigned aspirin (9 of whom had a major bleed). The rate of bleeding was low and did not differ significantly between the groups (0.7% per year for placebo and 1.1% per year for aspirin). The net clinical benefit (symptomatic VTE, myocardial infarction, stroke, all-cause mortality, and major bleeding) was improved with aspirin by 33% (9.8% per year versus 6.5% per year; number needed to treat, 31; Figure 2 and Table 2).
Similar relative reductions in events were observed with aspirin in each of the prespecified subgroups, either in terms of the effect on VTE (Figure 4) or on major vascular events, the prespecified outcome for subgroups (Figure 5), with no significant interactions (each P>0.1). Larger absolute reductions in VTE occurred in those subgroups at higher risk of recurrent VTE: in men versus women (absolute risk reduction 3.3% per year versus 1.7% per year; number needed to treat, 31 versus 59) and in older patients (≥65 versus <65 years, absolute risk reduction 5.5% per year versus 1.3% per year; number needed to treat, 19 versus 78).
Treatment Effects Over Time
The effects of aspirin in each year of follow-up after randomization are shown in Figure 6. The relative reduction in VTE events did not differ significantly over each year of follow-up (test for interaction by year, P=0.31). However, the absolute reduction in recurrent events was significantly greater in the first year when the risk of recurrence among untreated patients was higher. In the first year aspirin reduced VTE events by 5.6%, from 11.0% to 5.4% (HR, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.32–0.76; P=0.001).
Analyses Adjusted for Treatment Adherence
During the follow-up period, 164 patients assigned to placebo and 154 patients assigned to aspirin discontinued the study drug, with rates of 13.4% per year and 11.4% per year, respectively (Figure 7). A total of 76 patients assigned to placebo and 68 assigned to aspirin initiated open-label antiplatelet therapy or anticoagulation therapy before a defined vascular event occurred. In 65 patients (32 placebo group, 33 aspirin group) an antiplatelet drug was used and in 79 patients (44 placebo group, 35 aspirin group) an anticoagulant drug was used with or without an antiplatelet drug. The combined rate of nonadherence with study medication in the placebo and aspirin groups, averaged over the study period, was 19.4%: 13.2% in the aspirin group discontinued aspirin and 6.2% in the placebo group initiated antiplatelet or anticoagulation treatment.
When the analysis was adjusted for nonadherence with medication (with the analysis weighted within each year and study), the relative reduction in the risk of VTE with aspirin was 42% (HR, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.40–0.85; P=0.005; Table II in the online-only Data Supplement). This would correspond to 32 patients treated each year to prevent 1 VTE event. The result was similar when the adherence-adjusted analysis was based simply on modifying the intention-to-treat estimate by the pooled nonadherence rate: a 40% reduction (HR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.39–0.88; P=0.008). An analysis based on the actual treatment received showed similar relative effects (HR, 0.63; 95%, 95% CI, 0.46–0.86, P=0.004).
The prospectively planned combined analysis of the ASPIRE and WARFASA trials using individual patient data provides strong evidence that, in patients with a prior unprovoked VTE, aspirin after initial anticoagulation is ceased is effective in reducing the rate of recurrence of VTE. It builds on the previously reported trial results15,16 and simpler meta-analysis,16 providing robust findings across important subgroups and outcomes. Aspirin reduces recurrent events by more than one-third, with similar reductions in symptomatic DVT and PE and similar effects on major vascular events (the composite secondary outcome). When thrombosis and bleeding events are considered together, there is clear evidence of a net clinical benefit favoring aspirin over placebo.
The design of this prospective combined analysis has the strengths of a larger individual randomized trial.18 Many aspects of ASPIRE and WARFASA were identical, including the randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled design, the study interventions, and the outcome definitions. Study management committees jointly convened and further harmonized each study protocol with respect to eligibility criteria, efficacy and safety outcomes, and analysis plans. Because this combined patient-level analysis was defined before any unblinding of study outcomes of either individual trial, it has the same scientific rigor as a single larger randomized study.
The INSPIRE study provides greater power than either trial to more reliably estimate treatment effects among predefined subgroups and to examine the treatment effects over time. These analyses demonstrate that the relative treatment effects are similar across these subgroups and that the relative effect overall is still an appropriate estimate to consider for each subgroup. However, larger absolute effects of treatment are seen when there is a higher risk of recurrence, particularly for men compared with women and for older compared with younger patients. For treatment effects over time, there was not clear evidence of lesser effects over time. However, with more events occurring in the first year, there are larger absolute benefits of aspirin, and within first 12 months after anticoagulation is ceased when the risk of VTE recurrence is still at its highest. This information may be important for patients at high risk of recurrence for whom ongoing anticoagulation is not an option and for whom aspirin provides greater absolute benefit. Even among patients at lower risk, aspirin therapy still remains a useful treatment with a favorable risk–benefit profile.
A particular issue raised by intention-to-treat analyses of long-term trials is the problem of falling adherence to protocol therapy over time leading to an underestimation of the true effect of the study treatment. This can be especially problematic for a treatment such as aspirin, which is readily available as a nonprescription medicine. Estimating effects of fully adherent aspirin use, using an on-treatment analysis, is prone to selection bias. An alternative approach is to use a randomization-based efficacy estimate, which inflates the size of the treatment effect by dividing the overall efficacy estimate by the average adherence rate.17 A refinement to this approach, with greater power, is to use a weighted combination of treatment effects within each year of follow-up with greater weight given to the earlier years when there is greater adherence to treatment. These approaches gave similar qualitative conclusions and suggest that in a fully adherent population aspirin will prevent ≈40% of recurrent events.
It is clear that the treatment effect of aspirin is still much less than can be achieved with warfarin or the new oral agents with direct thrombin inhibitors9–12 or factor Xa inhibitors,13,14 where >80% reduction in events might be expected. Consequently, aspirin represents a reasonable treatment option only in patients who would otherwise not be receiving oral anticoagulation.
Although the current combined analyses have strengths, there are also limitations to the study and its conclusions. Because patients with cancer represented only a small proportion of patients in ASPIRE and were excluded from WARFASA and because patients with known coronary heart disease were not included in either study, our results do not apply to all patients with VTE. Further, the combined analyses provide clear-cut evidence of treatment benefit but have limited power to assess the longer-term effects of aspirin on VTE.
Globally, many patients with unprovoked VTE are not routinely treated with longer-term anticoagulant therapy. We conservatively estimate that >1 million patients worldwide experience unprovoked VTE each year and an even greater number have a previous history of unprovoked VTE.19,20 Fewer than half of these patients remain on long-term anticoagulant therapy.21–23 If a million patients worldwide could be treated with aspirin each year, 100 000 events might be prevented with a minimal increase in bleeding (about 1 extra major bleed for every 25 VTEs prevented) and with a treatment that would also be cost saving (the costs of treating subsequent VTEs avoided would outweigh the cost of aspirin). Additional potential benefits of aspirin in treated patients would include a reduction in arterial vascular events and cancer-related events, each known to be associated with VTE.24–27
In conclusion, this prospective, combined analysis of the WARFASA and ASPIRE trials provides clear evidence that aspirin reduces the risk of recurrent VTE events by ≈40% and is a very safe and effective therapy. Although it does not reduce the rate of VTE by as much as vitamin K antagonists or newer oral anticoagulants (direct thrombin inhibitors or factor Xa inhibitors), among patients for whom such therapies are not considered appropriate or are discontinued, aspirin should be strongly considered.
Sources of Funding
The ASPIRE study was funded by grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council (Project grants 301911  and 570967 ), New Zealand Health Research Council (HRC; 05/080R ), New South Wales Health, and Australian Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis. The WARFASA study was funded by the University of Perugia and a grant-in-aid from Bayer HealthCare. The study drug (aspirin and placebo) for both studies was provided by Bayer HealthCare.
INSPIRE International Steering Committee
John Eikelboom, Tim Brighton (coprincipal investigators ASPIRE), Giancarlo Agnelli, Cecilia Becattini (coprincipal investigators WARFASA), Wendy Hague, Rebecca Mister, Adrienne Kirby (ASPIRE coordinating center, NHMRC CTC), Paolo Prandoni (WARFASA Trial Management Committee), Paul Ockelford (PI, New Zealand), Alex Gallus (ASPIRE Trial Management Committee), Denis Xavier (PI, India), Rafael Diaz (PI, Argentina), John Simes (study chair). NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre (coordinating center for INSPIRE) Adrienne Kirby and Kristy Mann (biostatisticians), Rebecca Mister, Wendy Hague, Rhana Pike, John Simes
ASPIRE Trial Management Committee
Tim Brighton, John Eikelboom, John Simes, Wendy Hague, Rebecca Mister, Adrienne Kirby, Alex Gallus, Paul Ockelford, Ross Baker, Harry Gibbs, Paul Coughlin, Denis Xavier, Rafael Diaz
WARFASA Trial Management Committee
Giancarlo Agnelli, Cecilia Becattini, Paolo Prandoni
WARFASA Writing Committee
Cecilia Becattini, Giancarlo Agnelli, Paolo Prandoni, Walter Ageno, Claudio Cimminiello, Sabine Eichinger.
ASPIRE Safety and Data Monitoring Committee
Graham Young, Anthony Rogers, Chris Hayward
ASPIRE Outcomes Assessment Committee
Harry Gibbs (Chair), Andre van Rij, Tom Karplus, John Fletcher
WARFASA Central Independent Adjudication Committee
M. Duranti (chairman), S. Radicchia, F. Guercini
ASPIRE Sites (at least 1 patient randomized, principal investigator and primary trial coordinator listed)
Australian sites: Canberra Hospital, Philip Crispin, James Slade (20); Royal North Shore Hospital, Chris Ward, Negar Tadayon (21); Westmead Hospital, Jerry Koutts, Lisa Fisher (2); Prince of Wales Hospital, Tim Brighton, Karen McCardie, (42); Concord Hospital, Alessandra Bianchi, Jimmy Trinh (12); St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, Joanne Joseph, Patricia Plenge (6); St George Hospital, Beng Chong, Sarah Davidson (28); Coffs Harbour Health Campus, John Waites, Pauline Cahill (1); Gosford Hospital, Campbell Tiley, Mark Lacey (54); Lismore Base Hospital, David Jackson, Janice Boys (13); Calvary Mater Hospital, Michael Seldon, Michelle Gambrill (18); St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, Harshal Nandurkar, Helen Worland (2); Alfred Hospital, Hatem Salem, Claire Gollogly (2); Geelong Hospital, Philip Campbell, Isobel Marshall (10); Ballarat Health Services, Kate Hamilton, Carmel Goss (1); Box Hill Hospital, Hatem Salem, Lesley Poulton (34); Frankston Hospital, Martin Jackson, Theresa de Man (2); Monash Medical Center, Eng Gan, Anita Cummins (29); Maroondah Hospital, Michael Leyden, Caroline Sturtz (6); Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Paul Kubler, Xanthe Sansome (12), Princess Alexandra Hospital, Andrew McCann, Chris Downey (31); Redcliffe Hospital, Patrick Carroll, Maree Duroux (15); Nambour General Hospital, Steven Hamwood, Greg Styles (8); Gold Coast Hospital, Nick Buckmaster, Tammy Schmidt (2); Wesley Medical Centre, David Colquhoun, Antonio Jardim (1); Flinders Medical Center, Alexander Gallus, Jenny Osmond (23); Lyell McEwin Health Service, William Jeffries, Brenda Trezona (4); Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Simon McRae, Donna King (16); Royal Perth Hospital, Ross Baker, Karen Courtley (26); Royal Hobart Hospital, Robert Kimber, Lesley Oliver (10), Launceston General Hospital, Alasdair MacDonald, Jenny Shepherd (3)
New Zealand sites: Auckland Hospital, Paul Ockelford (NZ PI), Maree Hulton (69); Middlemore Hospital, Gordon Royle, Lyn Haycock (38); North Shore Hospital, David Simpson, Karen Yap (66); Palmerston North Hospital, Bartrum Baker, Helen McQuilkin (39); Wellington Hospital, John Carter, Julie Body (8)
Singapore sites: Singapore General Hospital, Lee Lai Heng, Melissa Tan (6); Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Jam Chin Tay, Jaxing Zou (9)
Indian National Coordinating Office: St John’s Medical College and Research Institute: Denis Xavier, Prem Pais (PIs), Alben Sigamani, Nandini Mathur
Indian sites: St John’s Medical College, Bangalore, H Kumar Pandharpurkar, G Remya (20); Christian Medical College Vellore, Tamil Nadu, E Stephen, A Benjamin (12); MS Ramaiah Medical College, Bangalore, S C Desai, R Singh (21); Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain, Bangalore, KR Suresh, Girija KR (4); Apollo Hospital, Chennai, S Natarajan, D Goel (14); Fortis Escorts Hospital, Rajasthan, R Gupta, BS Mishra (3); Sidhu Hospital Pvt. Ltd, Ludiana, G Sidhu, R Singh Sidhu (12); Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, R Parakh, R Sharma (12), Mahavir Hospital, Hyderabad, S Joshi, M Mahajan (1); Medanta the Medicity, New Delhi, T Grover, K Sharma (2); Ameya Clinic, Maharashtra, P Patel (17); Sahyadri Specialty Hospital, Maharashtra, A Kothurkar, P Ranade (6)
Argentinean National Coordinating Office: ECLA (Rafael Diaz (PI), Carolina Chacon, Rosana Rucci)
Argentinean sites: IIC Rosario, José Luis Fedele, Andrea Carolina Cristófaro (1); CEDIC (Centro de Investigaciones Clínicas), Elizabeth Gelersztein, Miriam Gelersztein (4); Instituto de Investigaciones Clínicas Cipolletti–Policlínico Modelo de Cipolletti, Alejandro Senén Sánchez, Laura Celeste Bowen (1), IIC San Nicolás, Rubén Omar García Durán, Fernanda Cámpora (1); Consultorios Hematológicos SRL, Hugo Héctor Ferro, Marcela Verónica Casais (2)
WARFASA Sites (at least 1 patient randomized)
Perugia, Italy - Department of Internal Medicine, University of Perugia: MC Vedovati, MD (29); Padua, Italy - Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Sciences, University of Padua: D. Tormene, MD, M. Perlati, MD, S. Barbar, MD (32); Genua, Italy - Galliera Hospital, R. Poggio, MD (25); Wien, Austria - Medical University of Wien: L. Leischer,MD (25); Faenza, Italy – Faenza Hospital: E. Bucherini (24); Reggio Emilia, Italy – Arcispedale S Maria Nuova: D. Galimberti, MD, MF. Leone, MD (20); Como, Italy – Valduce Hospital: A.Beretta, MD, A. Carugati, MD (19); Milan, Italy – Angelo Bianchi Bonomi Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center, Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico: S. Braham, MD(18); Varese, Italy - University of Insubria: E. Romualdi, MD, (17); San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy - Ospedale Sacro Cuore di Gesù: G. Tiscia, D. Colaizzo, M. Grilli, MD (15); Palermo, Italy – Ematologia con trapianto, Dipartimento di Medicina Interna e Specialistica (DIMIS), Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Policlinico di Palermo: S. Siragusa, MD (13); Trieste, Italy- Medicina di Urgenza, Ospedale Cattinara: R. Salvi, MD; M. Miccio, MD (12); Gallipoli, Italy – Medicina Interna e Lungodegenza, Ospedale Sacro Cuore di Gesù: L. Ria, MD (12); Vittorio Veneto, Treviso, Italy - Ospedale Civile,: N. Zanatta, MD (12); Florence, Italy – Thrombosis Centre, Department of Heart and Vessels Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Careggi: D. Poli, MD (11); Padua, Italy – Unit of Angiology, University Hospital of Padua: G. Camporese, MD; F. Verlato, MD (11); Ancona, Italy – Medicina di Urgenza, Ospedali Riuniti Umberto I - Lancisi- Salesi: A. Salvi, MD; C. Nitti, MD (11); Alessandria, Italy - Ospedale Civile S Antonio, Biagio e Arrigo: R. Santi, MD (10); Vimercate, Italy - Department of Medicine, Vimercate Hospital, Azienda Ospedaliera di Desio e Vimercate (Monza-Brianza): C. Cimminiello, MD (8); Treviso, Italy - Ospedale Ca’ Foncello,: G. Scannapieco, MD (8); Udine, Italy - Ospedale S Maria della Misericordia: G. Barillari, MD, S. Pasca, MD (8); Domodossola, Italy: Ospedale S Biagio: E. De Gaudenzi, MD (7); Siena, Italy: Università di Siena: R. Cappelli, MD (6); Naples, Italy – Regional Reference Centre for Coagulation Disorders, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Federico II University Hospital: G. Di Minno, MD; A. Tufano, MD (6); Fano, Italy – Ospedale di Fano: G. Frausini, MD (6); Cosenza, Italy - Department of Internal Medicine, Azienda ospedaliera: C. Bova, MD (5); Monza, Italy - Università Milano Bicocca: E. Pogliani, MD (4); Catania, Italy – Angiologia, Ospedale Garibaldi: S.S. Signorelli, MD (4); Cremona, Italy – Haemostasis and Thrombosis Centre, Istituti Ospedalieri di Cremona: S. Testa, MD, A. Alatri, MD (2); Lamezia Terme, Italy – Internal Medicine: G. Mancuso, MD (2); Florence, Italy – Emergency Department, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Careggi: S. Grifoni, MD (2); Milan, Italy - Thrombosis Center, IRCCS Istituto Clinico Humanitas: C. Lodigiani, MD (1).
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* A full list of investigators is contained in the Appendix.
The online-only Data Supplement is available with this article at http://circ.ahajournals.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.008828/-/DC1.
- Received January 19, 2014.
- Accepted July 7, 2014.
- © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.
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- Liu X,
- XIE L,
- Phatak H,
- Mardekian J,
- Tan W,
- Baser O,
- Ramacciotti E
Currently, >1 million people each year experience unprovoked venous thromboembolism worldwide. Without ongoing treatment they have a 10% risk of a further event in the first year and 30% risk over 10 years. The standard treatment is long-term oral anticoagulation, but fewer than half of these patients remain on their anticoagulants after 6 months, discouraged by the costs of treatment and monitoring, inconvenience, and the risk of bleeding. The INSPIRE study has now provided clear evidence that, in these patients, aspirin safely reduces the risk of recurrent venous thromboembolism by more than a third, making it an affordable effective treatment. INSPIRE has also shown that treatment has a larger absolute effect among patients at higher risk particularly men and older patients and in the first year after anticoagulation is ceased. However, even among patients at lower risk, aspirin therapy still remains a useful treatment with a favorable risk–benefit profile. Despite these benefits, it is clear that the treatment effect of aspirin is much less than for warfarin or direct thrombin inhibitors or factor Xa inhibitors, so aspirin is a treatment option for patients who would otherwise not be receiving oral anticoagulation. Although less effective, aspirin is inexpensive, easily obtainable, safe, and familiar to patients and clinicians all over the world. If cost is the main consideration, aspirin is a particularly useful therapy, because it is cost-saving: the costs of treating subsequent thromboembolic events avoided is greater than the cost of treatment.