Flu shot may lower death risk by 18 percent for people with heart disease, study finds

Previous research has shown people with heart disease are more vulnerable to serious flu infections, and new findings indicate that a flu shot may significantly lower the risk of death and serious complications, according to a preliminary study presented at the American Heart Association's virtual Scientific Sessions conference. 

Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 16 studies that included more than 237,000 people, finding heart disease patients who had a flu vaccination were 18 percent less likely to die from cardiac complications compared to those who were not vaccinated. Vaccinated patients also experienced a 28 percent lower death risk from any cause and were 13 percent less likely to face any major heart problems. 

Cardiologists were least likely to make the flu shot available to patients compared to other medical professionals — an unexpected finding. 

"The flu vaccine is very beneficial to heart patients, and if cardiologists are least likely to stock it, that's a huge gap," Siva Yedlapati, MD, study author, said in a news release

The study has not yet been peer-reviewed. 

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