Warfarin no better than aspirin for most heart failure patients

Results of one of the largest studies of heart failure to date show that warfarin is no better than aspirin in reducing the combined risks of brain hemorrhage, stroke and death in most heart failure patients.

The research, reported May 2 in the New England Journal of Medicine, looked at heart failure patients with a normal heart rhythm.

The results show that the combined rate of death, stroke and brain hemorrhage was not statistically different between the two groups, at 7.47 percent per year for patients taking warfarin and 7.93 percent per year for those taking aspirin.

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart can’t pump enough blood to the body. A weakened heart increases the risk of blood clots that can cause a fatal or disabling stroke. Both aspirin and warfarin reduce the risk of stroke, but they do so by different mechanisms and with different risks.