Taking aspirin is linked to a 26% increased risk of heart failure, according to new research. The other factors linked to it include obesity, smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease.

"This is the first study to report that among individuals with at least one risk factor for heart failure, those taking aspirin were more likely to subsequently develop the condition than those not using the medication," study author Blerim Mujaj of the University of Freiburg, Germany, said.

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

The research included 30,827 people at risk of heart failure who were enrolled in the HOMAGE study in Western Europe and the U.S.

At the beginning of the study, all of the participants were over 40 years old and had no signs of heart failure. At the time of enrollment, individuals' aspirin consumption was recorded, and they were divided into two groups: users and non-users. Participants were tracked for the first time they developed fatal or non-fatal heart failure that necessitated hospitalization.

The role of aspirin on heart failure is debatable. The goal of this study was to see how it relates to heart failure incidence in those with and without heart disease, as well as to see if taking the medicine is linked to a new heart failure diagnosis in those who are at risk.

After adjusting for sex, age, BMI, smoking, alcohol use, blood pressure, heart rate, blood cholesterol, creatinine, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and treatment with renin-angiotensin-aldosterone-system inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, diuretics, beta-blockers, and lipid-lowering drugs, the researchers looked at the link between aspirin use and incident heart failure.

Taking aspirin was found to be linked to a 26% increased risk of a new heart failure diagnosis.

The researchers repeated the analysis after comparing aspirin users and non-users for heart failure risk factors to ensure the consistency of the findings. Aspirin was linked to a 26% increased risk of a new heart failure diagnosis in this matched analysis. The analysis was performed after eliminating people with a history of cardiovascular illness to double-check the results.

Aspirin use was associated with a 27% increased risk of incident heart failure in 22,690 participants (74% of whom were free of cardiovascular disease).

The study concluded that large multinational randomised studies in adults at risk of heart failure are needed to confirm these findings. Until then, their results suggest that aspirin should be used with caution in people who have heart failure or who have risk factors for it.

The findings of this research have been published in the ESC Heart Failure Journal.