Oct 23, 2013
By Jane Brown
If you have heart disease, the flu shot could reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke by more than half. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows patients who recently had a heart attack or unstable angina had a 36 percent lower risk of a major cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack, stroke or heart failure, within a year of receiving a seasonal flu vaccine. And those who specifically suffered a recent heart attack had a 55 percent lower risk of a major cardiac event after receiving the vaccine.
“If the flu vaccine can reduce the risk of cardiac events, these shots could have considerable impact on cardiac health,” lead researcher Dr. Jacob Udell said in a statement. He and his co-authors note that the flu vaccine is a “low-cost, annual, safe, easily administered, and well-tolerated therapy” and that more study on using it to prevent heart events in those at risk is warranted. Udell, a cardiologist at Toronto’s Women’s College Hospital, and study co-author Dr. Michael Farkouh, director of the University of Toronto’s Heart and Stroke Richard Lewar Centre, are currently in the process of organizing a larger clinical trial to follow heart disease patients for up to 12 months after receiving the flu shot.