Flu vaccines can protect heart failure patients, says researcher at McMaster University in Hamilton

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Published April 4, 2022 at 2:47 pm

Flu vaccines can protect heart failure patients, says researcher at McMaster University in Hamilton
Flu vaccines can protect patients with heart failure by reducing the risk of death, according to a researcher at McMaster University in Hamilton.

Flu vaccines can protect patients with heart failure by greatly reducing the risk of life-threatening complications.

According to an international study led by researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, the influenza vaccine reduced the incidence of pneumonia by 42 per cent and overall hospitalizations by 15 per cent in patients with heart failure.

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“These findings highlight the immense importance of vaccinating patients with heart failure against the flu,” Mark Loeb, who studies infectious diseases, pathology, and molecular medicine at McMaster, told Brighter World.

“The vaccine keeps you out of hospital and it really does mean the difference between life and death for patients with heart failure, especially during the peak flu season. These results are yet more proof that vaccines save lives.”

Loeb is the study’s first author and says the vaccines’ benefits were even more prevalent during flu season, reducing pneumonia cases 50 per cent, and heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular-related deaths 20 per cent.

The study tracked more than 5,000 patients with heart failure in 10 regions with low flu vaccination rates, like Africa and the Middle East. It compared flu vaccines to placebos in a control group.

Eighty per cent of cardiovascular disease occurs in low and middle-income countries where flu vaccination rates are also low, making them ideal research locations, according to Loeb.

The flu has been associated with an increased risk of life-threatening cardiovascular events. According to the study, patients with heart failure have a 50 per cent chance of dying within five years, while 20 per cent are hospitalized for heart attacks, strokes, and other complications every year.

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