Flu shot reduces heart attacks, strokes, and death in heart patients

USA Today reports that research published in JAMA suggest that a flu shot may reduce “the risk of having a heart attack or stroke by more than 50% in people who have had a heart attack.”

The New York Times “Well” blog reports that investigators looked at data from five trials that included approximately 6,400 heart patients. The researchers found that “for patients with stable heart disease, [the flu] vaccination decreased the relative risk for a cardiovascular event by 36 percent.” For individuals who had suffered “a heart attack within the last year, the effect was greater: a 55 percent reduction in relative risk.” Altogether, patients “who were vaccinated had a 19 percent reduced risk of death.”

The Los Angeles Times “Science Now” blog reports that “the conclusion that a flu shot can protect patients with heart disease is convincing, according to an” accompanying editorial by vaccine expert Dr. Kathleen Neuzil.

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