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ATS: Aspirin Use Linked to Slower Progression of Emphysema

Slower progression of percent emphysema on CT after adjustment for multiple variables

TUESDAY, May 19, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Aspirin use is associated with slower progression of percent emphysema on computed tomography (CT), according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Thoracic Society, held from May 15 to 20 in Denver.

Carrie P. Aaron, M.D., of Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues examined whether aspirin use would be associated with slower progression of percent emphysema on CT. Participants aged 45 to 84 years old without clinical cardiovascular disease were enrolled in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis in 2000 to 2002. Percent emphysema below −950 Hounsfield units was assessed on lung fields of cardiac CTs at baseline and one to two follow-up examinations, and on full-lung CTs at the 10-year follow-up.

The researchers found that 21 percent of the 4,471 participants used aspirin regularly. At baseline, the median percent emphysema was 2.92, and the mean increase was 0.83 percent per 10 years (P < 0.001). Aspirin use at baseline was associated with significantly slower progression of percent emphysema in unadjusted and fully-adjusted models compared with non-use (−0.36 percent/10 years; P = 0.008). The results were consistent in propensity score analyses and were of the same magnitude in ever-smokers.

"The findings might suggest that regular aspirin use may slow the progression of subclinical emphysema, perhaps through effects on platelet activation or inflammation," Aaron said in a statement.

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