Researcher Carrie Aaron said that other than smoking cessation and avoidance, there were no known methods for reducing the risk of developing emphysema.
"In our large general population sample, we found that using aspirin 3 or more days per week was associated with a slower progression of percent emphysema on computed tomography (CT) scans over 10 years," she said.
The study included 4,471 individuals participating in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis Lung Study, where 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% of study subjects.
Aaron said the results showed that people taking aspirin regularly had a slower progression of emphysema over ten years compared to those who did not, and that this difference was not explained by many factors that we believe affect progression of emphysema.
The research was presented at the 2015 American Thoracic Society International Conference.