Should You Take Aspirin for Heart Health?

Aspirin has long been considered a lifesaving option to lower the risk of heart attack or stroke. In fact, aspirin has been used for centuries for medical purposes, beginning more than 2,500 years ago when Egyptian physicians used willow bark as a pain reliever. Aspirin is also one of the most studied therapies in cardiovascular disease over the last half century.

However, taking a daily aspirin isn’t an option for everyone. Is it right for you? It depends on a variety of factors including age, general health, history of heart health, and more. which you should discuss with your health care provider.

Fortunately, we have AAHPO members and cardiologists Shant Manoushagian, MD and George Petrossian, MD to help us sort it out.

“Generally speaking, the widespread use of aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease has fallen out of favor due to bleeding risk, especially in those over age 60,” noted Dr. Manoushagian. “Guidelines now call for individualized, shared decision-making between health care provider and patient after weighing risk/benefit and cardiovascular (CV) risk vs. bleeding risk.”

“If able to be tolerated, aspirin should be used in patients who have had a prior heart attack, stroke, have documented CV disease, a prior stent of a heart artery or peripheral vascular disease,” said Dr. Petrossian. “In these patients, aspirin reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.”

Both of these specialists emphasized that the decision to use aspirin should be made in discussion with your health care provider.


Some Reasons to Get Off the Fence about COVID Booster

Editor’s Note: AAHPO Board Member Tsoline Kojaoghlanian, MD, a pediatric infectious disease specialist, agrees with the article below, and also recommends the flu vaccine for those age 6 months and older, and recommends the RSV vaccine for the elderly (scroll down to see additional article).

Though many people remain on the fence about getting the latest COVID vaccine booster, new research suggests a strong argument for getting the shot this winter: It sharply reduces the risk for COVID.

Researchers found that getting vaccinated led to a 69% reduction in long-COVID risk among adults who received three vaccines before being infected. The risk reduction was 37% for those who received two doses. Experts say the research provides a strong argument for getting the vaccine, noting that about 10% of people infected with COVID go on to have long COVID, which can be debilitating for one quarter of those with long-lasting symptoms.

The data come from a systematic literature review and meta-analysis published in October in Antimicrobial Stewardship & Epidemiology. Researchers examined 32 studies published between December 2019 and June 2023, involving 775,931 adults. Twenty-four studies, encompassing 620,221 individuals, were included in the meta-analysis.


Why You Need a Flu Shot and Who Should Receive an RSV Vaccine

There are many reasons to get an influenza (flu) vaccine each year.

Below is a summary of the benefits of flu vaccination and selected scientific studies that support these benefits.

Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick with flu.

  • Flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year. For example, during 2019-2020, the last flu season prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 36 million influenza illnesses, 16 million influenza-associated medical visits, 390,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations, and 25,000 influenza-associated deaths.
  • During seasons when flu vaccine viruses are similar to circulating flu viruses, flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with flu by 40% to 60%.


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. However, it can be dangerous for older adults.

RSV vaccines help protect adults 60 years and older from severe RSV illness. Older adults are at greater risk than young adults for serious complications from RSV because immune systems weaken with age. In addition, certain underlying medical conditions may increase the risk of getting very sick from RSV. Older adults with these conditions may especially benefit from getting RSV vaccine. If you are 60 years and older, talk to your healthcare provider to see if RSV vaccination is right for you.


From Artsakh to Armenia: A Professional Journey Enhanced by Continuous Learning

Dr. Gayane Tevosyan, 47, started her career more than two decades ago as an ENT specialist at Stepanakert Republican Medical Center. Back then, she served around 90 patients per day, covering night shifts in Stepanakert and nearby areas.

“I often worked at night as we had a huge gap in ENT specialists. However, I liked it and would do it repeatedly if needed,” said Gayane, who has resettled in Yerevan since the September 19 attack by the Azeris.

While her professional journey began in Artsakh, Gayane’s desire to enhance her skills led her to embrace continuous learning. In 2016, she participated in the AAHPO, Dr. Raffy Hovanessian Medical Education Program (above, Gayane is holding her graduation certificate from the program), an initiative to provide healthcare professionals with opportunities to expand their knowledge and expertise. Gayane’s first experience with the program, hosted at Erebuni Medical Center, was a revelation, introducing her to new insights, particularly in ear-related procedures.

Encouraged by the enriching experience and to distract herself from psychological traumas, Gayane has recently been enrolled in the ENT training program at the Astghik Medical Center in Yerevan. The program exposed her to cutting-edge techniques, including endoscopy and various methodologies not previously practiced in Artsakh.

Gayane emphasizes the importance of ongoing education for doctors, citing the information acquired during retraining sessions that significantly contribute to patient care: “Being retrained is crucial for every doctor,” Gayane affirmed, “It equips us with the latest knowledge on treating patients, explaining medical complexities to them and developing effective therapeutic tactics. I am eager to apply for the program again.”

The AAHPO, Dr. Raffy Hovanessian Medical Education Program was initially introduced in 2011 within Artsakh. The program has now been extended to include healthcare providers who were displaced from Artsakh to Armenia. Currently, AAHPO is assisting the physicians with finding employment and resettling in Armenia. AAHPO is trying to prevent a “brain drain” of talented Armenian physicians.

“We want these physicians to continue to practice and contribute to the health of Armenians in Armenia and not leave Armenia during this most turbulent time,” noted AAHPO President Lawrence V. Najarian, MD.