Am J Med. 2023 Sep 9:S0002-9343(23)00542-9. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2023.08.010. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Recent guidelines do not recommend routine use of aspirin for primary cardiovascular prevention (ppASA) and suggest avoidance of ppASA in older individuals due to bleeding risk. However, ppASA is frequently taken without an appropriate indication. Estimates of the incidence of upper gastrointestinal bleeding due to ppASA in the United States are lacking. In this study, we provide national estimates of upper gastrointestinal bleeding incidence, characteristics, and costs in ppASA users from 2016-2020.
METHODS: ppASA users (patients on long-term aspirin therapy without cardiovascular disease) presenting with upper gastrointestinal bleeding were identified in the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample using ICD-10 codes. Trends in upper gastrointestinal bleed incidence, etiology, severity, associated Medicare reimbursements and the impact of ppASA on bleeding outcomes were assessed with regression models.
RESULTS: From 2016-2020, adjusted incidence of upper gastrointestinal bleeding increased 29.2% among ppASA users, with larger increases for older patients (increase of 41.6% for age 65-74 years and 36.0% for age ≥75 years). The most common etiology among ppASA users was ulcer disease but increases in bleeding incidence due to angiodysplasias were observed. The proportion of hospitalizations with major complications/comorbidities increased 41.5%, and Medicare reimbursements increased 67.6%. Among patients without cardiovascular disease, ppASA was associated with increased odds of hospital admission, red blood cell transfusion, and endoscopic intervention as compared to no ppASA use.
CONCLUSIONS: Considering recent guideline recommendations, the rising incidence, severity, and costs associated with upper gastrointestinal bleeding among patients on ppASA highlights the importance of careful assessment for appropriate ppASA use.