NYMC Faculty Publications

Rationales and Uncertainties for Aspirin Use in COVID-19: a Narrative Review

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Family Medicine and Community Health

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Review Article

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OBJECTIVES: To review the pathophysiology of COVID-19 disease, potential aspirin targets on this pathogenesis and the potential role of aspirin in patients with COVID-19.

DESIGN: Narrative review.

SETTING: The online databases PubMed, OVID Medline and Cochrane Library were searched using relevant headlines from 1 January 2016 to 1 January 2021. International guidelines from relevant societies, journals and forums were also assessed for relevance.

PARTICIPANTS: Not applicable.

RESULTS: A review of the selected literature revealed that clinical deterioration in COVID-19 is attributed to the interplay between endothelial dysfunction, coagulopathy and dysregulated inflammation. Aspirin has anti-inflammatory effects, antiplatelet aggregation, anticoagulant properties as well as pleiotropic effects on endothelial function. During the COVID-19 pandemic, low-dose aspirin is used effectively in secondary prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, prevention of venous thromboembolism after total hip or knee replacement, prevention of pre-eclampsia and postdischarge treatment for multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. Prehospital low-dose aspirin therapy may reduce the risk of intensive care unit admission and mechanical ventilation in hospitalised patients with COVID-19, whereas aspirin association with mortality is still debatable.

CONCLUSION: The authors recommend a low-dose aspirin regimen for primary prevention of arterial thromboembolism in patients aged 40-70 years who are at high atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk, or an intermediate risk with a risk-enhancer and have a low risk of bleeding. Aspirin's protective roles in COVID-19 associated with acute lung injury, vascular thrombosis without previous cardiovascular disease and mortality need further randomised controlled trials to establish causal conclusions.