Flu boosts heart-attack risk, says study

Sep 21, 2009

Heart problems may account for a huge share of deaths from influenza, according to a study published on Tuesday that recommends cardiac patients be vaccinated against flu.

The paper, published in the journal The Lancet , reviews mortality figures for acute myocardial infarction -- a sudden heart attack -- and cardiovascular disease during outbreaks of flu between 1932 and 2008.

The current pandemic H1N1 virus was not included in the snapshot.

Between 35 and 50 percent of the increase in deaths recorded during influenza outbreaks could be attributed to cardiovascular problems, it says.

The authors, led by infectious disease epidemiologists Charlotte Warren-Gash and Andrew Hayward at University College London, say the causes inflammation and acts on the molecular pathways that control .

These effects could destabilise fatty deposits that line the arterial wall and cause clots that block coronary arteries, they say.

Only a few investigations have been carried out into whether flu vaccination helps protect cardiac patients, but the little evidence available suggests it does, the paper says.

"We believe influenza vaccination should be encouraged wherever indicated, especially in those people with existing cardiovascular disease," it says.

At present, vaccines for "seasonal" flu are recommended in many countries for individuals with chronic medical conditions. They generally include but not other cardiac problems such as hypertension.

Relatively few people at risk take up the vaccine, though. In Britain, only 47.2 percent of people with chronic conditions received the jab for seasonal flu, according to figures quoted in the study.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Recorded Ebola deaths top 7,000

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Bird flu vaccine protects people and pets

Oct 20, 2008

A single vaccine could be used to protect chickens, cats and humans against deadly flu pandemics, according to an article published in the November issue of the Journal of General Virology. The vaccine protects birds and ma ...

Recommended for you

Recorded Ebola deaths top 7,000

5 hours ago

The worst Ebola outbreak on record has now killed more than 7,000 people, with many of the latest deaths reported in Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization said as United Nations Secretary-General Ban ...

Liberia holds Senate vote amid Ebola fears (Update)

10 hours ago

Health workers manned polling stations across Liberia on Saturday as voters cast their ballots in a twice-delayed Senate election that has been criticized for its potential to spread the deadly Ebola disease.

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

Dec 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

Bacteria in caramel apples kills at least four in US

Dec 19, 2014

A listeria outbreak believed to originate from commercially packaged caramel apples has killed at least four people in the United States and sickened 28 people since November, officials said Friday.

Steroid-based treatment may answer needs of pediatric EoE patients

Dec 19, 2014

A new formulation of oral budesonide suspension, a steroid-based treatment, is safe and effective in treating pediatric patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.