CCC: Flu Shot Linked to Fewer Defibrillator Therapies

Second study shows reduction in major cardiovascular events, deaths for flu shot recipients

MONDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Receipt of the influenza vaccine is associated with a reduction in the number of implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) therapies and in the number of major adverse cardiovascular events, according to two studies presented at the annual Canadian Cardiovascular Congress, held from Oct. 27 to 31 in Toronto.

Ramanan Kumareswaran, M.D., from the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto, and colleagues surveyed 229 patients with ICDs who presented at the ICD clinic between Sept. 1 and Nov. 31, 2011. The majority of patients (78 percent) received the influenza vaccine in the previous year, with recipients significantly older than non-recipients. The researchers found that the average number of ICD therapies per person during the influenza season was greater for those who did not receive the influenza vaccine compared to those who did receive the vaccine. This association persisted even after adjustment for the number of ICD therapies received in the pre-influenza period (0.45 versus 0.14 therapies; P = 0.0006).

Jacob A. Udell, M.D., from the Women's College Hospital and University of Toronto, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of four randomized controlled trials involving 3,227 patients, including 796 with early post-acute coronary syndrome, 851 with stable cardiovascular disease, and 1,580 without established cardiovascular disease. The researchers found that influenza vaccine correlated with a significant reduction in the one-year risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (odds ratio, 0.52), with directionally consistent trends seen for cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.

"In addition to leading a heart healthy life, having an annual flu shot could be another easy way to help prevent cardiac events," Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson Beth Abramson, M.D., said in a statement.

Abstract - Kumareswaran
Abstract - Udell
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