Flu jab saves lives in heart failure

Flu vaccination seems to reduce both all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, according to research from Denmark.

The study followed 134,048 people with heart failure for a median of 3.7 years. Vaccination coverage ranged from 16-54 per cent. After adjusting for confounders including co-morbidities, medications and demographics, receiving at least one vaccination was associated with an 18 per cent reduced risk of all-cause death and the same decrease in cardiovascular mortality.

The risk fell further as the number of vaccinations rose. For example, all-cause and cardiovascular mortality both fell by 11 per cent in those who received one vaccine, compared with declines of 28 and 29 per cent respectively in those who had at least three jabs. Both also fell by 19 per cent in people who received the vaccine each year, compared with declines of 13 and 8 per cent respectively in those who had the jab less often than once a year.

Vaccination early in the flu season showed the greatest benefits. All-cause and cardiovascular mortality both fell by 22 per cent when patients received the vaccine in September, by 18 per cent in October and by about 10 per cent in November and December. No statistically significant difference emerged later in the flu season.

While the researchers included patients with newlydiagnosed heart failure, lead author Daniel Modin from the University of Copenhagen comments that the flu jab should protect all patients with the condition. “Flu vaccination may be regarded as a standard treatment in heart failure,” he says.

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