A new study has found that the use of aspirin is associated with a 26% increased risk of heart failure, according to Science Daily.

The risk was high among people who have at least one predisposing factor for heart disease, such as smoking, obesity, hypertension, high blood cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease.

The study was published Tuesday in ESC Heart Failure – a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Study author Dr. BlerimMujaj of the University of Freiburg, Germany, said, “This is the first study to report that among individuals with a least one risk factor for heart failure, those taking aspirin were more likely to subsequently develop the condition than those not using the medication.”

“While the findings require confirmation,” he added, “they do indicate that the potential link between aspirin and heart failure needs to be clarified.”

The researchers looked at more than 30,000 people at risk for developing heart failure who was having risk factors such as smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

At baseline, nearly 7,700 (25%) participants were taking aspirin. The researchers found of these 25% participants, 1,330 developed heart failure during the 5.3-year follow-up. They concluded that using aspirin was independently associated with a 26% increased risk of a new heart failure diagnosis.

To confirm the consistency of these findings, the authors repeated the analysis after matching aspirin users and non-users for heart failure risk factors. And they found that aspirin indeed was associated with a 26% raised risk of a new heart failure diagnosis.

Furthermore, the researchers analyzed the results excluding patients with a history of cardiovascular disease. In 22,690 (74%) participants without cardiovascular disease, aspirin use was associated with a 27% raised risk of incident heart failure.

Dr. Mujaj explained, “This was the first large study to investigate the relationship between aspirin use and incident heart failure in individuals with and without heart disease and at least one risk factor. Aspirin is commonly used — in our study one in four participants were taking the medication.”

“In this population, aspirin use was associated with incident heart failure, independent of other risk factors,” he added.

“Large multinational randomized trials in adults at risk for heart failure are needed to verify these results,” Dr. Mujaj concluded. “Until then, our observations suggest that aspirin should be prescribed with caution in those with heart failure or with risk factors for the condition.”

The article appeared in Science Daily.