Early Resumption of Low-Dose Aspirin after Peptic Ulcer Bleeding Might Be Beneficial
Clinical question: Is it safe to restart aspirin after acute gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding in patients with cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease?
Background: The increasing cardiovascular burden in the aging population has indirectly increased aspirin-related peptic ulcer bleeding. Proton-pump inhibitors (PPI) have shown promise in reducing recurrent GI bleeding in non-aspirin-related cases. It is unclear if this protective effect applies to patients on aspirin and, if so, if aspirin resumption after endoscopic treatment is safe.
Study design: Parallel, randomized, placebo-controlled, noninferiority trial.
Setting: Single tertiary endoscopy center in Hong Kong.
Synopsis: One hundred fifty-six patients with aspirin-related peptic ulcer bleeding were selected for the study. After successful endoscopic treatment and 72 hours on pantoprazole infusion, the patients were started on oral pantoprazole for the duration of the study (eight weeks). Patients were equally randomized to receive low-dose aspirin (80 mg/d) or placebo. Primary outcome was recurrent bleeding within 30 days. Secondary outcomes included eight-week all-cause mortality, cause-specific mortality, and recurrence of cardiovascular events.
The aspirin group had a 50% higher risk of recurrent bleeding within 30 days compared with placebo (10.3% vs. 5.4%). However, for the secondary endpoints, aspirin had lower all-cause mortality (1.3% vs. 12.9%), which was not related to increased GI bleeding. On the other hand, discontinuation of aspirin and use of PPI in the placebo group did not prevent mortality related to GI complications.
The small numbers restrict interpretation of the mortality rates but offer support to the fact that the cardioprotective effects of aspirin outweigh its potential for GI bleeding. It is to be noted that these results cannot be extrapolated to higher doses of aspirin.
Bottom line: Early resumption of aspirin after successful treatment of peptic ulcer bleeding might increase the risk of rebleeding but potentially decreases overall mortality.
Citation: Sung JJ, Lau JY, Ching JY, et al. Continuation of low-dose aspirin therapy in peptic ulcer bleeding: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med. 2010;152(1):1-9.
A Substantial Number of Elderly Patients with Pneumonia Have Pulmonary Malignancy
Clinical question: What is the incidence of, and risk factors for, diagnosis of lung cancer after discharge for pneumonia?
Background: Pneumonia-related admissions in elderly individuals have increased by nearly 20% during the past two decades. Based on the risk profile of this age group, many physicians recommend follow-up chest imaging after pneumonia to ensure resolution and exclude underlying malignancy. However, this practice is not backed by substantial evidence.
Study design: Retrospective cohort study from administrative databases of the VA system.
Setting: Veteran Affairs (VA) Health Care System.
Synopsis: More than 40,000 patients (older than 65, 98.1% male) hospitalized for pneumonia were included in the study. These patients had no pneumonia in the preceding year and did not carry a diagnosis of lung cancer. During the follow-up period of up to five years, a significant proportion (9.2%) of these patients were diagnosed with pulmonary malignancy.