Durham, N.C. — Researchers at Duke University have developed a gene-based test to show whether a patient with cardiovascular risk factors would benefit from aspirin therapy.
For more than 50 years, aspirin has been used as an inexpensive blood thinner to help some patients avoid heart attack or stroke. In fact, nearly 60 million Americans take a low dose of aspirin daily.
However, doctors really haven't understood how it works or why about 20 percent of people don't respond to it.
According to the lead author of Duke's study, which was published in the online edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the test could serve as a strong predictor of who is at risk for a heart attack.
"Our work lays the foundation for the type of test that could be available in a doctor's office – and therefore give physicians the tools that they would need to readily identify those patients that are responding or not," said Dr. Deepak Voora.
Once the blood test identifies someone who may not respond to aspirin, there are plenty of other anti-platelet or blood thinner medication options, doctors say.
The answer could also be a higher dose of aspirin. Researchers plans to examine that question in future studies.