A trial into the effects of aspirin on people at risk from heart disease or strokes is under way in Lanarkshire, which has the highest death rate from heart disease in Scotland.
Edinburgh University's department of public health sciences is coordinating the trial, backed by Pounds 1 million from the British Heart Foundation and the Scottish Office. Although aspirin is a well-established treatment for patients following a heart attack, it is not clear whether it also helps people considered at high risk of cardiovascular disease but with no symptoms. About 20,000 men and women over 50 with no symptoms will be screened for narrowing of the arteries, and about 3,300 with evidence of disease will be given either aspirin or a dummy pill over five years. This will determine whether future heart attacks and strokes can be prevented through early detection and treatment with low-dose aspirin.