Regular flu shots might save heart failure patients

London: Annual flu vaccination is regarded as a safe and low-cost way to improve survival rate among elderly heart failure patients, according to a new research.

The findings, published in the journal Circulation, showed that flu vaccination was associated with an 18 per cent reduced risk of premature death and a 19 per cent reduction in both all-cause and cardiovascular death when compared with no vaccination.

Getting a flu shot less than once per year but more than not at all was associated with a 13 per cent reduced risk of all-cause death and an 8 per cent reduced risk of cardiovascular death.

“Recent studies have indicated that the influenza vaccination coverage of patients with heart failure is inadequate,” said lead author Daniel Modin, an investigator from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

“I hope that our study can assist in making physicians and cardiologists who care for patients with heart failure aware of how important influenza vaccination is for their patients. Influenza vaccination may be regarded as a standard treatment in heart failure similar to medications,” he added

Influenza can be very serious or even fatal for patients with heart failure because heart failure patients are often older than 65, have compromised circulation and other health complications, and infection may exacerbate heart failure symptoms.

Moreover, heart failure is expected to increase over the next decade as the population ages, highlighting a greater need to provide better care for these patients.

In this study, researchers analyzed data on 134,048 patients with newly diagnosed heart failure over a 12-year period.

Though the research only looked at patients with newly-diagnosed heart failure, the protection from a flu shot is likely to benefit any patient with heart failure, Modin noted.