Aspirin may slow emphysema

Regular use of aspirin may help slow the progression of early emphysema, according to research presented at the 2015 American Thoracic Society International Conference.

The study of 4,471 individuals participating in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis Lung Study found regular aspirin use was associated with a significantly slower progression of percent emphysema over ten years (as measured by CT scans), when compared to those who did not use aspirin.

The findings held even after adjustment for a number of potential confounding factors, including age, sex, race/ethnicity, cigarettes/day, pack-years, and hypertension. 

“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 researcher Carrie Aaron MD, of the Columbia University Medical Center in New York.

“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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