Seasonal flu vaccine lowers risk of first heart attack

Sep 20, 2010

The seasonal flu vaccine is associated with a 19% reduction in the rate of first heart attack and early vaccination in the fall further increases the benefits, found a study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

As heart attacks increase significantly in winter when pneumonia and flu are prevalent, it has been suggested there may be a link between respiratory infections and heart attacks.

The study, by researchers from the United Kingdom, looked at 78 706 patients aged 40 years or older from 379 family practices in England and Wales. Of the total, 16 012 had had a and 8472 of these patients had been vaccinated. The researchers found that vaccination within the past year was associated with a significantly reduced rate of heart attack. However, pneumococcal vaccination showed no additional benefit.

Early vaccination for influenza (between September and mid-November) was associated with a higher (21%) reduction in the rate of heart attacks compared with late vaccination which was associated with a 12% reduction.

"Our findings reinforce current recommendations for annual influenza vaccination of target groups, with a potential added benefit for prevention of acute myocardial infarction in those without established ," writes Dr. Niroshan Siriwardena, University of Lincoln, United Kingdom with coauthors Stella Gwini and Carol Coupland. "This benefit may lead to an increase in suboptimal rates of vaccination, particularly among younger patients."

Because people with risk factors for heart attacks were more likely to be vaccinated than those with no risk factors, the researchers adjusted for possible bias in the sample.

They conclude that if additional research shows a similar effect, it could lead to changes in the recommended indications for and timing of vaccinations.

Explore further: Rotavirus vaccine reduces severe diarrhoea by 64 percent in Malawi

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

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.

Recommended for you

Flu's grip on U.S. starting to weaken: CDC

36 minutes ago

(HealthDay)—After a rough start to the flu season, the number of infections seems to have peaked and is even starting to decline in many parts of the nation, federal health officials reported Thursday.

Litchi fruit suspected in mystery illness in India

46 minutes ago

A mysterious and sometimes fatal brain disease that has afflicted children in northeastern India for years could be linked to a toxic substance in litchi fruits, US researchers said Thursday.

WHO: Ebola response shifts to ending epidemic

1 hour ago

Health officials are now focused on ending the biggest-ever Ebola outbreak rather than just slowing the deadly virus' spread, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

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.