HealthDay News — Flu vaccination is underused in high-risk patients but is associated with reduced rates of cardiovascular events among patients who do receive it, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association Basic Cardiovascular Sciences 2020 Scientific Sessions, held virtually from July 27 to 30.

Roshni A. Mandania, from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Paul L. Foster School of Medicine in El Paso, and colleagues investigated the impact of flu vaccination on various cardiovascular outcomes among groups at high risk for influenza and its complications (e.g., adults ≥50 years, people with chronic medical conditions or AIDS, people at nursing facilities, American Indians and Alaskan Natives, and obese people). The analysis included data for 7,056,314 high-risk patients participating in the 2014 National Inpatient Sample Database.

The researchers identified 168,325 flu vaccinations among the high-risk patients during hospitalization. Older adults were less likely to be vaccinated during hospitalization compared with the general population (1.8 versus 15.3 percent). Among those at high risk who had the flu vaccination, there was a lower risk for myocardial infarction, mortality, transient ischemic attacks, and cardiac arrest.

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“The results we found are staggering. It’s hard to ignore the positive effect the flu vaccine can have on serious cardiac complications,” Mandania said in a statement. “Some people don’t view flu vaccinations as necessary or important, and many may face barriers accessing health care including receiving the flu vaccine.”

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