A new study released by the Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences in Iran suggests that getting a flu shot could help reduce a person's risk of having a heart attack.
The findings were published this week in Scientific Reports.
The study said that in a meta-analysis of over 9,000 patients, flu shots reduced the risk of a heart attack by 26%. The meta-analysis also showed there was a 33% lower risk of cardiovascular death among those with a flu shot.
The meta-analysis involved 4,529 patients who received flu vaccine compared with 4,530 patients who received a placebo. They were placed into one of five studies.
The authors of the study said this data shows that flu vaccines could be of particular importance for those with a history of cardiovascular disease.
"This finding underscores the potential benefits of targeting this high-risk group for vaccination," the study's authors wrote. "Further research is warranted to elucidate the precise mechanisms driving this association and to explore the long-term impact of influenza vaccination on cardiovascular outcomes. In the meantime, health care providers and policymakers should take heed of these findings and consider prioritizing influenza vaccination for patients with recent CVDs as a feasible and potentially life-saving preventive measure."
The study's authors gave several hypotheses as to why flu vaccines reduce the risk of heart attack. The hypotheses include that flu vaccines reduce inflammation caused by influenza, prevent secondary infections and stabilize atherosclerotic plaques.
Health officials have said getting vaccinated is especially important for people with chronic health conditions that put them at higher risk for flu-related complications.
As of Nov. 4, about 1 in 3 U.S. adults has gotten a flu vaccine this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC said that in 2019-20, influenza vaccines prevented an estimated 7.5 million influenza illnesses, 3.7 million influenza-associated medical visits, 105,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations, and 6,300 influenza-associated deaths.
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