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Flu vaccination 'helps reduce risk of stroke and heart attacks'

By Christian Duffin

Flu jabs can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in patients with acute coronary syndrome, according to new research which found vaccination reduced the risk of strokes and heart attacks by 30% compared to no treatment.

Their prospective trial involved 439 patients admitted to hospital with acute coronary syndrome within an eight-week period between October and November 2008 who were randomised to receive either a flu jab or no treatment in the control group. All patients were treated with standard therapy, including revascularisation by cardiologists.

Major cardiovascular events such as hospitalisation from strokes or heart failure occurred less frequently among the vaccine group than among the control group. 9.5% of patients given the flu jab suffered cardiovascular events, significantly fewer that than the 19.3% in the control. There was no significant difference in incidence of cardiovascular death rates between the two groups, however.

Lead researcher Dr Arintaya Phrommintikul, a cardiologist at Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital in Thailand, concluded: ‘The influenza vaccine reduced major cardiovascular events in patients with acute coronary syndrome, and therefore should be encouraged as a secondary prevention in this group of patients.'

European Heart Journal 2011, published online February 2

Flu jabs were found to help reduce the risk of CVD events in patients with acute coronary syndrome Flu jabs were found to help reduce the risk of CVD events in patients with acute coronary syndrome

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