Flu shot reduces death risk in people with heart failure

Credit: Sam Moghadam Khamseh/Unsplash.

In a study from McMaster University and elsewhere, scientists found that flu shots can save the lives of people with heart disease by reducing heart complications as well as preventing flu.

They found that influenza vaccines greatly reduce both pneumonia and heart complications in people with heart failure.

In the study, the team tracked more than 5,000 patients with heart failure in 10 countries across Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, where few people have regular influenza vaccination.

They received either an influenza vaccine or a placebo annually between June 2015 and November 2021.

The team showed that over the entire year, the influenza vaccine reduced pneumonia by 40% and hospitalization by 15% in patients with heart failure.

During influenza season in the fall and winter, the influenza vaccine reduced deaths by 20% in these patients.

Data gathered during flu season also showed that the vaccine helped protect against cardiovascular complications, such as heart attacks and strokes.

While the flu has long been associated with an increased risk of life-threatening cardiovascular events, the team says that people with heart failure are already vulnerable to poor health outcomes.

Patients with the condition have a 50% chance of dying within five years, while 20% are hospitalized for cardiovascular complications every year.

The team says if you have heart failure, you should get your flu shot because it can save your life—that is what we found in this study.

It is underappreciated that the influenza vaccine can save people from cardiovascular death.

The flu shot should be part of the standard practice in people with heart failure given how simple, inexpensive and safe it is.

Avoiding one-sixth of deaths from heart disease and preventing hospitalizations makes it very cost-effective and that can have an important public health and clinical impact.

If you care about heart failure, please read studies about a big cause of heart failure, and Vitamin C linked to a lower risk of heart failure.

For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about a new way to fight against heart failure, and results showing drinking coffee may help reduce heart failure risk.

The study was conducted by Mark Loeb et al and published in The Lancet Global Health.

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