Getting a flu vaccination may lower the risk of heart attack by 26% and the risk of cardiovascular deaths by 33%, according to a new meta-analysis published Nov. 19 in Scientific Reports.
For the study, researchers looked at data from five studies that examined both cardiovascular health and flu vaccines. In total, they looked at results from 4,529 patients who received flu vaccines and compared their cardiovascular outcomes with those of 4,530 patients who received a placebo shot.
The average age of vaccine recipients in the analysis was 61 years.
While the findings suggest a strong link between recipients of the flu shot and a lower risk for cardiovascular events, the authors note that "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."
They recommend clinicians take the data into consideration and prioritize the vaccination of patients who already have cardiovascular disease as "a feasible and potentially life-saving preventive measure."