Flu Vaccine Cuts Heart Risks
Vaccinations Urged for All With Heart Disease to Cut Deaths
Nov. 17, 2006 (Chicago) -- If you suffer from heart disease, get vaccinated
against the flu -- now.
That's the message from doctors who found that people with a buildup of
plaque in their arteries are about two-thirds less likely to die, have a heart
attack, or need emergency bypass or angioplasty if they get the
vaccinated than if they don't.
Andrzej Ciszewski, MD, of the Institute of Cardiology in Warsaw, Poland,
presented the findings here at the annual meeting of the American Heart
Of the thousands of presentations at the meeting, this was one of the most
important, says AHA president Ray Gibbons MD, professor of medicine at the Mayo
Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Gibbons notes that only one in three adults with heart disease was
vaccinated against the flu in 2005, even though people with heart disease are
more likely to die from influenza than patients with any
other chronic condition.
Overall, the flu is responsible for 36,000 deaths and 225,000
hospitalizations in the U.S. each year.
People with cardiovascular disease are particularly vulnerable, Gibbons
says, because the flu can exacerbate heart disease symptoms and can lead to
conditions like viral or bacterial pneumonia that cause heart disease
"A bout of flu tends to make people with heart disease even sicker and
increase the chance of having to go to the emergency room or hospital," he
Benefits of Annual Vaccinations