Influenza Vaccination Reduces Risk of Serious Cardiac Events

Study results show that individuals who were vaccinated against the flu were 37% less likely to be hospitalized and 82% less likely to be admitted to the ICU that those who were unvaccinated.

Individuals with heart disease who receive the influenza vaccination have a reduced risk of fatal or serious cardiac events, results of a series of studies by Houston Methodist Hospital showed.

"It seems that younger Americans with high-risk conditions have not gotten the same memo that their older counterparts have received about the importance of getting the influenza vaccine," Priyanka Bhugra, MD, internal medicine specialist at Houston Methodist, said in a statement. "That's dangerous, considering people with heart conditions are particularly vulnerable to influenza-related heart complications, whether they've reached retirement age or not.”

Vaccination rates for individuals with heart disease under the aged 65 years is less than 50%, compared with 80% of older individuals with heart disease.

The study results show that individuals are 6 times more likely to experience a heart attack the week after influenza infection than any other time of year.

Investigators used 1 study to look at about 336,000 hospitalized individuals with the flu. Of those individuals, 11.5% had a serious cardiac event. In a second study of about 90,000, individuals with influenza had similar rates. About 11.7% of individuals experienced an acute cardiovascular event.

Results of a third study showed that 1 in 8 individuals admitted to the hospital with influenza experienced a cardiovascular event, with 31% requiring intensive care and 7% dying.

Individuals who were vaccinated were 37% less likely to be hospitalized and 82% less likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), results of another study showed.

Those who were vaccinated and admitted to the ICU spent 4 fewer days than unvaccinated individuals.

Individuals who got vaccinated and had the flu had a lower risk of cardiovascular events.

The results of the series of studies were published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.


Flu and heart disease: the surprising connection that should convince you to schedule your shot. EurekAlert. News release. October 15, 2021. Accessed on October 18, 2021.

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