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This article is the author’s final published version in BMC pregnancy and childbirth, Volume 22, Issue 1, April 2022, Pages 303.

The published version is available at Copyright © Bauserman et al.


Background: Low dose aspirin (LDA) is an effective strategy to reduce preterm birth. However, LDA might have differential effects globally, based on the etiology of preterm birth. In some regions, malaria in pregnancy could be an important modifier of LDA on birth outcomes and anemia.

Methods: This is a sub-study of the ASPIRIN trial, a multi-national, randomized, placebo controlled trial evaluating LDA effect on preterm birth. We enrolled a convenience sample of women in the ASPIRIN trial from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya and Zambia. We used quantitative polymerase chain reaction to detect malaria. We calculated crude prevalence proportion ratios (PRs) for LDA by malaria for outcomes, and regression modelling to evaluate effect measure modification. We evaluated hemoglobin in late pregnancy based on malaria infection in early pregnancy.

Results: One thousand four hundred forty-six women were analyzed, with a malaria prevalence of 63% in the DRC site, 38% in the Kenya site, and 6% in the Zambia site. Preterm birth occurred in 83 (LDA) and 90 (placebo) women, (PR 0.92, 95% CI 0.70, 1.22), without interaction between LDA and malaria (p = 0.75). Perinatal mortality occurred in 41 (LDA) and 43 (placebo) pregnancies, (PR 0.95, 95% CI 0.63, 1.44), with an interaction between malaria and LDA (p = 0.014). Hemoglobin was similar by malaria and LDA status.

Conclusions: Malaria in early pregnancy did not modify the effects of LDA on preterm birth, but modified the effect of LDA on perinatal mortality. This effect measure modification deserves continued study as LDA is used in malaria endemic regions.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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