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Flu shot halves risk of heart attack or stroke in people with history of heart attack, study finds
Date:10/22/2013

TORONTO, ON, October 22, 2013 -- The flu vaccine may not only ward off serious complications from influenza, it may also reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke by more than 50 per cent among those who have had a heart attack, according to new research led by Dr. Jacob Udell, a cardiologist at Women's College Hospital and clinician-scientist at the University of Toronto. What's more, the vaccine's heart protective effects may be even greater among those who receive a more potent vaccine.

"Our study provides solid evidence that the flu shot helps prevent heart disease in vulnerable patients -- with the best protection in the highest risk patients," Dr. Udell said. "These findings are extraordinary given the potential for this vaccine to serve as yearly preventative therapy for patients with heart disease, the leading cause of death among men and women in North America."

Published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the study reviewed six clinical trials on heart health in people who received the flu vaccine. The studies included more than 6,700 patients with a history of heart disease. The researchers found people who received the flu shot:

  • Had a 36 per cent lower risk of a major cardiac event (heart attack, stroke, heart failure, or death from cardiacrelated causes) one year later
  • Had a 55 per cent lower risk of a major cardiac event if they had a recent heart attack
  • Were less likely to die from cardiac-related and other causes, and
  • Were less likely to have a major cardiac event with a more potent vaccine compared with the standard seasonal vaccine

Dr. Udell carried out this research in collaboration with Dr. Michael Farkouh, senior co-author of the study and Chair of the Peter Munk Centre of Excellence in Multinational Clinical Trials, which is within the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at the University Health Network.

"If the flu vaccine can reduce the risk of cardia
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Contact: June Pierotti
june.pierotti@uhn.ca
416-340-3895
University Health Network
Source:Eurekalert

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