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Flu shots can protect patients with heart failure from early death

Flu shots can save the lives of people with cardiovascular disease by reducing cardiac complications as well as preventing influenza.

An international study led by McMaster University researchers and published in The Lancet Global Health has found that influenza vaccines greatly reduce both pneumonia and cardiovascular complications in people with heart failure.

“If you have heart failure, you should get your flu shot because it can save your life — that is what we found in this study,” said the study’s principal investigator Mark Loeb.

Loeb is a McMaster professor of pathology and molecular medicine and a Hamilton infectious disease physician and microbiologist.

“It is underappreciated that influenza vaccine can save people from cardiovascular death,” he added.

The study showed that over the entire year the influenza vaccine reduced pneumonia by 40 per cent and hospitalization by 15 per cent in patients with heart failure. During influenza season in the fall and winter, the influenza vaccine reduced deaths by 20 per cent in these patients.

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