Flu shots linked to lower heart attack risk
Getting a flu shot may lower the risk of heart attack and heart failure, especially in patients who have recently experienced heart problems, according to a study published in JAMA.
For the study, researchers from the University of Toronto analyzed all clinical trials of the flu vaccine that studied cardiovascular events as outcomes. They looked at six trials which comprised 6,735 patients with the average age of 67. In the five published trials, within one year of follow-up, only 95 of the 3,238 patients (2.9 percent) given the flu vaccine experienced a major cardiovascular event, compared with 151 of 3,231 patients (4.7 percent) given a placebo. The unpublished trial found similar results.
Then, researchers analyzed a subgroup of patients from the published data who had preexisting coronary artery disease. They found that patients who had a recent history of acute coronary syndrome had a more drastic lowered risk of heart attack and heart failure.
Researchers plan to do more research, but say the flu vaccine could be a low-cost, safe way to reduce heart attacks.