The study looked at a total of 28,947 patients who experienced an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in Denmark over the course of a decade. Heart attack differs from cardiac arrest in that the former involves damage to the heart when the blood supply stops (usually through obstruction of circulation), whereas the latter involves damage from the heart itself stopping. 3,376 of these were treated with an non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs) up to 30 days before the event. The most common NSAIDs used were ibuprofen (51%) and diclofenac (22%).
The study results revealed that NSAID use was associated with a 31% increased risk of cardiac arrest. Ibuprofen and diclofenac increased the risk by 31% and 50%, respectively. Naproxen, celecoxib and rofecoxib were not associated with increased cardiac arrest.
Gunnar remarked on these findings:
“The findings are a stark reminder that NSAIDs are not harmless. Diclofenac and ibuprofen, both commonly used drugs, were associated with significantly increased risk of cardiac arrest. NSAIDs should be used with caution and for a valid indication. They should probably be avoided in patients with cardiovascular disease or many cardiovascular risk factors.”