Test for Smokers at Risk of Emphysema

IOWA CITY, Iowa, April 9 (UPI) — A test could identify smokers at risk of emphysema, U.S. researchers say.

Eric Hoffman of the University of Iowa and colleagues used computed tomography imaging to measure blood flow patterns in the lungs of 41 study participants — 17 non-smokers and 24 smokers.

All the participants had normal lung function, but 12 of the smokers showed disrupted blood flow.

The study, published in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests disrupted blood flow is a subtle sign of emphysema that could help identify those at risk before the disease damages large areas of lungs.

“Our study suggests that some smokers have an abnormal response to inflammation in their lungs; instead of sending more blood to the inflamed areas to help repair the damage, blood flow is turned off and the inflamed areas deteriorate,” Hoffman says in statement.

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