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New research shows that flu is a trigger of heart attacks

ts. If people can recognise that the flu vaccine has specific cardioprotective effects, then high-risk people will be more likely to make sure that they receive the influenza vaccine every year. We know from our other research that one in three people with heart disease do not consider themselves at high risk for heart-related complications from influenza and therefore do not receive the annual flu shots. Currently, people are not practising as we preach, and doctors need to work to change this."

He urged the European Society of Cardiology to follow the lead set in the USA by the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology and recommend that all at-risk people should be given flu vaccines. "The vaccine may be even more beneficial for those from deprived socio-economic groups or under-developed countries who are not taking all the recommended cardioprotective medications due to their high cost or lack of access to proper medical care. In contrast, the flu vaccine is inexpensive, easy to administer and could save thousands of lives every year."

Prof Madjid ?who directs a research lab dedicated to the effect of flu on the cardiovascular system ?pointed out that the implications of the research were even more important with a looming flu pandemic when a much higher percentage of the population could be expected to catch the illness.

"In the majority of influenza epidemics (except for the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic) cardiovascular deaths surpassed any other causes of mortality, including pneumonia. During influenza pandemics, heart disease patients may be considered among the priority groups to receive the vaccine or antiviral drugs. Meticulous use of plaque-stabilising agents such as statins, beta-blockers, aspirin and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors should offer additional protection during an influenza outbreak," he said.

Prof Madjid said that a number of new vaccines were being developed against avian
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Source:Oxford University Press


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