In a new study, researchers found that influenza and pneumonia vaccinations are linked to fewer hospital deaths in patients with heart failure.
The finding was based on an analysis of nearly 3 million Americans.
The research was conducted by a team at the University of Connecticut.
One out of five people will develop heart failure in their lifetime. An estimated 26 million people are affected worldwide.
Heart failure is a serious condition in which the heart cannot pump blood around the body as well as it should.
It leads to a build-up of fluid in the lungs, causing shortness of breath and coughing, and impacts people’s quality of life, often requiring urgent hospitalizations.
Respiratory infections such as influenza and pneumonia make heart failure worse, and annual vaccinations are recommended.
While it is known that inoculations protect against respiratory infections and that these infections exacerbate heart failure, few studies have compared outcomes of vaccinated versus unvaccinated patients.
This study examined whether immunizations had any link with the risk of heart failure patients dying while in the hospital.
The study included 2,912,137 patients with heart failure who had a hospital admission in 2010 to 2014. The average age was 70 years.
Just 1.4% of patients in the study had the flu vaccine and 1.4% had the pneumonia vaccine.
The team found rates of in-hospital death were much lower in patients who received the flu vaccine (1.3%) compared to those who did not receive the flu vaccine (3.6%).
Similarly, rates of in-hospital death were much lower in patients inoculated against pneumonia (1.2%) compared to those who were not inoculated (3.6%).
The study provides further impetus for annual immunizations in patients with heart failure.
Pneumonia and flu vaccines are vital to preventing these respiratory infections and protecting patients with heart failure.
The team says the COVID-19 pandemic has shone the spotlight on the importance of vaccination to prevent respiratory infections, particularly for people with diseases like heart failure.
One author of the study is Dr. Karthik Gonuguntla.
The study was presented at ESC Congress 2020.
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