OBJECTIVE: The primary objective was to conduct a meta-analysis on published observational cohort data describing the association between acetyl-salicylic acid (aspirin) use prior to the onset of sepsis and mortality in hospitalized patients.
STUDY SELECTION: Studies that reported mortality in patients on aspirin with sepsis with a comparison group of patients with sepsis not on prior aspirin therapy were included.
DATA SOURCES: Fifteen studies described hospital-based cohorts (n = 17,065), whereas one was a large insurance-based database (n = 683,421). Individual-level patient data were incorporated from all selected studies.
DATA EXTRACTION: Propensity analyses with 1:1 propensity score matching at the study level were performed, using the most consistently available covariates judged to be associated with aspirin. Meta-analyses were performed to estimate the pooled average treatment effect of aspirin on sepsis-related mortality.
DATA SYNTHESIS: Use of aspirin was associated with a 7% (95% CI, 2-12%; p = 0.005) reduction in the risk of death as shown by meta-analysis with considerable statistical heterogeneity (I = 61.6%).
CONCLUSIONS: These results are consistent with effects ranging from a 2% to 12% reduction in mortality risk in patients taking aspirin prior to sepsis onset. This association anticipates results of definitive studies of the use of low-dose aspirin as a strategy for reduction of deaths in patients with sepsis.