Flu Shot Linked to Lower Odds of Death in Heart Failure Patients

Heart failure patients who receive the influenza vaccination may reduce their risk of all-cause and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality, according to new research. 

Researchers evaluated nationwide registry data on all heart failure patients (n = 134,048) in Denmark aged older than 18 years who were diagnosed between Jan. 1, 2003, and June 1, 2015. Median follow-up time was 3.7 years. During the course of the study, vaccination coverage ranged from 16% to 54%. 

In unadjusted analyses, patients had an increased risk of death if they received one or more vaccinations during follow-up. However, in adjusted analysis (for inclusion date, comorbidities, medications, household income, and education level), patients who received one or more vaccinations had an 18% reduced mortality risk—both all-cause (hazard ratio [HR], 0.82; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.81-0.84; P<0.001) and CVD (HR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.81-0.84; P<0.001). Patients who received their vaccinations every year, were vaccinated earlier in the season (September to October), and had a greater cumulative number of vaccinations had lower mortality rates compared to those who received sporadic vaccines. 

During a mean follow-up of 3.7 years, 58% of the study cohort died due to any cause, and over a mean 3.3 years, 36% suffered cardiovascular-related mortality. 

The study results were published in Circulation. 

The researchers could not prove a causal link between the vaccine and survival, but the researchers still believe the results should encourage cardiologists to have their patients vaccinated. 

“Influenza immunization is inexpensive, quick, and I don’t think that cardiologists can do anything else to benefit their patients that has the immediate impact that influenza vaccination does or is as cheap. So I think every cardiologist ought to be doing this, starting the day after this paper is published,” William Schaffner, MD, of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, told MedPage Today. 

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Incidence of Hospitalisation for Heart Failure and Case-Fatality Among 3.25 Million People with and without Diabetes

Sources: CirculationMedPage Today 

Kaitlyn D’Onofrio is a digital medical writer. She is interested in musculoskeletal health, the effect of exercise on health, and mental health awareness. When she’s not writing for DocWire, Kaitlyn is teaching yoga classes in her community, promoting wellness to her students.