Flu vaccines were revealed to considerably lower the incidence of life-threatening consequences in persons with heart failure in the first randomised controlled experiment to examine the benefits of flu vaccines.
Mark Loeb, MD, Michael G. DeGroote presented the findings to the American College of Cardiology at their annual scientific session in Washington.
Oversee author Mark Loeb said, “The influenza vaccine reduced the incidence of pneumonia by 42 % and hospitalization for any reason by 15 % in patients with heart failure, compared to a control group given placebos “.
Loeb also stated that obtaining a flu vaccine has a clinical advantage due to the clear reduction in pneumonia (50 percent), modest reduction in hospitalisation, and reduction in vascular events and mortality (20 percent) during peak influenza seasons. The study involved 5,129 individuals with heart failure from ten countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, where few people receive regular influenza vaccine.
The vaccines reduced the risk of life-threatening flu-related complications, but they had no effect on the primary outcomes for patients with heart failure. Patients were randomly assigned to receive a flu shot or a placebo annually for up to three years, though they were also allowed to get a flu shot outside of the trial. Researchers concluded that the flu vaccine protected patients from influenza complications, including cardiovascular events, based on these findings. Although this is the first clinical trial of the flu vaccine’s effectiveness in patients with heart failure, earlier observational studies have revealed that persons who have been vaccinated have a lower risk of cardiovascular events and fatalities.
While the flu has long been linked to a higher risk of life-threatening cardiovascular events, Loeb points out that persons with heart failure are already at risk for poor health. Patients with the disease have a 50% probability of dying within five years, and 20% are hospitalised every year for heart attacks, strokes, and other problems.
According to Loeb, 80 percent of cardiovascular illness occurs in low and middle-income nations, which also have low influenza vaccination rates, making them suitable research locations.