If a prospective study confirms these results, aspirin is going to be the only treatment known to be able to counter emphysema. Numerous animal studies exist and it shows that development of emphysema could be contributed by endothelial damage and that lung biopsies are present in humans, which show emphysema areas where there is destruction of capillaries. It is unclear whether this means the whole alveolar space being destroyed including the capillaries or whether the problems found in capillaries usually come first.

How aspirin counters emphysema

In their own reasoning, the team of researchers came to a conclusion that emphysema could be countered by aspirin through inhibition of activation of platelets and this reduces inflammation while probably alters the flow of blood in pulmonary capillaries. Ideally, their work resulted from the continuing Multi- Ethnic study for Atherosclerosis, simply known as MESA study. The study essentially involves over 6000 patients and has been designed in a way that it reveals the various characteristics associated with subclinical cardiovascular disease as well as the risk factors which are associated with the progression of the disease.

MESA- Lung Study

When doing the MESA Lung study, the researchers evaluated a group of 4469 men and women aged between 45 and 84 years and who didn’t have any cardiovascular disease. Most of them, 55 percent to be specific were either former or current smokers, and all the patients had gone through CT scans for baseline coronary calcium. This was what was used by the researchers in determining the lung volume percentage that had emphysematous features. And during the entire follow up period of 10 years, those who participated in the study were made to go through four CT scans that were used for tracking the percentage at which emphysema had increased. In addition, 81% of the participants also went through spirometry in measurement of the expiratory airflow.

During each of the visits made to the CT scan, there was assessment of any kind of medication taken by the subjects in the previous two week. 21 percent of the participants, about 921 of them were reported to have taken aspirin every week, at least 3 times. A reduction in the way emphysema had progressed after the CT assessment was 0.36% much lower compared to the regular users of aspirin unlike in the nonusers after the 10 years when they were followed by the researchers. When the ever smokers were analyzed, it was seen that the progression reduction was 0.37 percent lower compared to those who used aspirin regularly.

These results were obtained after the researchers controlled the age, race, sex, ethnicity, hypertension as well as cigarettes smoked in a day as well as pack years of smoking.