Flu vaccine linked to lower inpatient mortality among geriatric surgery patients

Surgery patients over age 66 vaccinated against influenza are less likely to develop postoperative pneumonia or experience inpatient mortality, according to a study published The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

For the study, researchers analyzed claims data compiled in Taiwan from 2008 to 2013. The team identified 16,903 patients over the age of 66 who received influenza vaccinations prior to undergoing major surgery. Researchers matched these individuals with 16,903 patients who did not receive a flu shot prior to surgery. Controls were matched with vaccinated patients based on multiple factors, including socioeconomic status, medical conditions and type of surgery. Patients that received a flu shot were less likely to contract postoperative pneumonia and less likely to die in the hospital when compared to unvaccinated patients.

"Vaccinated geriatric surgical patients showed lower risks of pneumonia and in-hospital mortality compared with unvaccinated patients undergoing similar major surgeries," concluded the study's authors. "Further studies are needed to explain how preoperative influenza vaccination improves perioperative outcomes."

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