The Progression Of Emphysema May Be Slowed By Aspirin

First Posted: May 18, 2015 10:12 AM EDT

New findings presented at the 2015 American Thoracic Society International Conference suggest that the progression of emphysema could be slowed by aspirin.

"Other than smoking cessation and avoidance, there are no known methods for reducing the risk of developing emphysema," researcher Carrie Aaron of the Columbia University Medical Center in New York said in a statement. "In our large general population sample, we found that regular aspirin use (three or more days per week) was associated with a slower progression of percent emphysema on computed tomography (CT) scans over 10 years."

During the study, researchers collected information from over 4,000 participants involved in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis Lung Study.

The percentage of lung volume with emphysematous features (percent emphysema) was assessed on up to 4 CT scans performed over approximately 10 years of follow-up. Spirometry, a measure of expiratory airflow, was performed in 81 percent of study subjects, according to Medical Xpress.

Researchers found that about 21 percent of the subjects used aspirin regularly, while another 55 percent were ever-smokers. From there, 25 percent of those with spirometry had results that indicated airflow obstruction. The analysis showed regular aspirin use that was associated with a significantly slower progression of percent emphysema over ten years when compared to those who did not use aspirin.

"Our study found that persons taking aspirin regularly had a slower progression of emphysema over 10 years compared to those who did not, and that this difference was not explained by many factors that we believe affect progression of emphysema." said Dr. Aaron. "The findings might suggest that regular aspirin use may slow the progression of subclinical emphysema, perhaps through effects on platelet activation or inflammation."

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