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Aspirin break for surgery raises risk

Patients with heart disease who stop taking their regular dose of aspirin in preparation for dental treatment or minor surgical procedures increase their risk of an acute coronary syndrome, according to new French research.

Of 1,236 people admitted to University Hospital Pasteur in Nice for a cardiovascular episode ­ including heart attacks and unstable angina ­ 500 had been taking aspirin under medical advice for at least three months and 51 had stopped their aspirin less than a week before, said researchers.

Emile Ferrari, professor of cardiology at the hospital, told the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians that these 51 patients accounted for 4.1 per cent of hospitalisations for coronary events at Hospital Pasteur during this period.

Twenty of the patients had stopped taking aspirin without medical advice, but the rest were told to stop by their doctors to avoid potential bleeding problems during medical procedures.

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