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article imageFlu shots could help prevent heart attacks

By Jane Fazackarley     Sep 21, 2010 in Health
New research shows that having the flu vaccination could reduce the chance of a heart attack by a fifth, according to a study carried out by the University of Lincoln.
British people took part in the study and the results showed that patients who had the vaccination had a reduced chance of having a heart attack. Also, the earlier into the flu season the vaccination was given, the further the risk was reduced.
According to the Telegraph, people who had the flu vaccination between September and November had close to a 20% less chance of having a heart attack within the next 12 months.
People who had the vaccination later into the flu season had a 12% less risk of a heart attack. Heart attacks increase in the winter months and it is thought likely that this is due to the higher incidence of respiratory infections.
The authors of the research say that if the results of the survey could be reproduced then the recommendation might be for patients to have their flu jabs earlier in the year.
The UK vaccination programme usually begins at the start of September through until the new year and is offered to people thought to be most vulnerable to flu.
The results of the study have been published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The trial included 78,706 patients. The minimum age of people involved in the study was forty.
According to the Telegraph, Dr Niroshan Siriwardena, who is lead author of the report, said:
"Our findings reinforce current recommendations for annual influenza vaccination of target groups, with a potential added benefit for prevention of acute myocardial infarction in those without established cardiovascular disease."
"This benefit may lead to an increase in suboptimal rates of vaccination, particularly among younger patients."
The British Heart Foundation recommend that heart patients should take advantage of the flu vaccination programme.
Judy O’Sullivan, Senior Cardiac Nurse for the British Heart Foundation said:
“This study reinforces the known benefits of the annual flu jab for people at high risk of having a heart attack."
“People with cardiovascular disease are eligible for the annual flu jab and this study demonstrates the sooner they get it the better.”
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