An investigation that has appeared in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics suggests that low-dose aspirin may have a role in the prevention of cardiovascular risk associated with bereavement. In the 24 h following the death of a significant person, the incidence of acute myocardial infarction increases 21.1-fold. Low-dose aspirin could be a suitable prevention strategy in acute bereavement.
To investigate aspirin as a feasible preventive intervention, acutely bereaved participants (n = 10) were recruited on average within 30 days (SD = 14.67) of the death of their spouse along with nonbereaved controls (n = 12). Hemodynamic markers (blood pressure, heart rate, HRV) and depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale; CES-D) were assessed during 2 laboratory visits. Results show an attenuated physiological reactivity to a grief-related stress task and a beneficial effect on depressive symptoms in the aspirin group. Higher cardiovascular reactivity to emotional stressors in bereavement could amplify increased cardiovascular risk. The effect of aspirin on depressive symptoms is consistent with previous studies linking depressive symptoms with inflammation.
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