Cardiovascular events are the leading cause of line-of-duty fatality for firefighters. Aspirin reduces the risk of cardiovascular events in men and may reduce fatalities in older (>40 yr) firefighters. We hypothesized that both chronic and acute aspirin supplementation would improve vascular function after live firefighting but that chronic supplementation would also improve resting hemodynamics.Methods
Twenty-four firefighters (40–60 yr) were randomly assigned to acute or chronic aspirin supplementation or placebo in a balanced, crossover design. Arterial stiffness, brachial and central blood pressures, as well as forearm vasodilatory capacity and blood flow were measured at rest and immediately after live firefighting.Results
Total hyperemic blood flow (area under the curve (AUC)) was increased (P < 0.001) after firefighting with no effects for aspirin supplementation or acute versus chronic administration (AUC, from 107 ± 5 to 223 ± 9 in aspirin condition and from 97 ± 5 to 216 ± 7 mL·min−1 per 100-mL forearm tissue for placebo; P < 0.05 for main, and P > 0.05 for interaction). Arterial stiffness/central blood pressure increased (P < 0.04) with no effect of aspirin (from 0.0811 ± 0.001 to 0.0844 ± 0.003 m·s−1·mm Hg−1 in aspirin condition versus 0.0802 ± 0.002 to 0.0858 ± 0.002 m·s−1·mm Hg−1 in placebo condition), whereas peripheral and central systolic and pulse pressures decreased after firefighting across conditions (P < 0.05).Conclusions
Live firefighting resulted in increased AUC and pressure-controlled arterial stiffness and decreased blood pressure in older firefighters, but aspirin supplementation did not affect macro- or microvascular responsiveness at rest or after firefighting.