News and Research: Aspirin and COVID-19

Title: Aspirin Use is Associated with Decreased Mechanical Ventilation, ICU Admission, and In-Hospital Mortality in Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19 Journal of Anesthesia & Analgesia, Oct 21, 2020

Overview: Researchers did a retrospective study, looking at the data of COVID-19 patients in US hospitals between March and July 2020.

Patients were divided into two groups:

  • patients who took aspirin either before going to the hospital or within 24-hours or admittance
  • patients who didn’t take any aspirin.

After taking into account some confounding variables (BMI, vital signs at admission), the results showed:

  • The aspirin group was at a 44% decreased risk being put on a ventilator.
  • The aspirin group was at a 43% decreased risk for ICU admission.
  • In-hospital mortality didn’t differ statistically between the two groups.
  • Of note, the average age of the patients in the aspirin group was 9 years older than the no-aspirin group. Plus, the aspirin group contained significantly more patients with hypertension, diabetes, CAD, kidney disease, and liver disease.

My thoughts:  It is interesting to see the impact of aspirin on ICU admission and ventilators. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that doctors in March may not have been as aware of the blood clot issues with COVID as they were by July. At some point in that time period, there was a shift towards using anti-clotting medications, and heparin is now used more regularly. (Heparin helps prevent clots and it may also help stop the infection through binding to SARS-CoV-2) The question in my mind is whether at the first symptoms people should take aspirin as long as they don’t have any reasons not to take aspirin (bleeding disorder, allergy, children with a fever). For example, aspirin was one of the things that Pres. Trump reportedly took.

Author Information:   Debbie Moon
Debbie Moon is the founder of Genetic Lifehacks. She holds a Master of Science in Biological Sciences from Clemson University and an undergraduate degree in engineering from Colorado School of Mines. Debbie is a science communicator who is passionate about explaining evidence-based health information. Her goal with Genetic Lifehacks is to bridge the gap between the research hidden in scientific journals and everyone's ability to use that information. To contact Debbie, visit the contact page.