Flu vaccines may protect heart failure patients from premature death – ScienceDaily

Influenza vaccines can save the lives of people with cardiovascular disease by reducing heart complications and preventing the flu.

An international study conducted by researchers at McMaster University and published in The Lancet Global health found that flu vaccines markedly reduce both pneumonia and cardiovascular complications in people with heart failure.

“If you have heart failure, you should get the flu shot because it can save your life — that’s what we found in this study,” said study principal investigator Mark Loeb.

Loeb is a McMaster professor of pathology and molecular medicine and an infectious disease physician and microbiologist in Hamilton.

“It is underestimated whether the flu vaccine can save people from cardiovascular death,” he added.

The study showed that throughout the year, the flu shot reduced pneumonia by 40% and hospitalization by 15% in patients with heart failure. During flu season in the fall and winter, the flu vaccine reduced deaths in these patients by 20%.

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

In this collaborative clinical study between McMaster and the Population Health Research Institute of McMaster and Hamilton Health Sciences, investigators tracked more than 5,000 heart failure patients in 10 countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East, where few people get regular flu vaccinations. . They received either a flu shot or a placebo every year between June 2015 and November 2021.

Although the flu has long been associated with an increased risk of life-threatening cardiovascular events, Loeb said people with heart failure are already vulnerable to poor health outcomes. Patients with this condition have a 50% chance of dying within five years, while 20% are hospitalized each year for cardiovascular complications.

“Importantly, we looked at low- and middle-income countries where 80% of cardiovascular disease occurs and where flu vaccination rates are low.”

Salim Yusuf, executive director of PHRI and author of the study, said: ‘The flu vaccine should be part of standard practice in people with heart failure, given how simple, cheap and safe it is. hospitalizations makes it very cost-effective and can have a major clinical and public health impact.”

The study is the first clinical study of flu vaccine efficacy in patients with heart failure.

External funding for the study came from the UK’s Joint Global Health Trials Scheme and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The vaccines used for the study were supplied by Sanofi Pasteur.

Source of the story:

Materials provided by McMaster University. Original written by Fram Dinshaw. Note: Content can be edited for style and length.

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