Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Fayette | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Warren | Webster

Can a Flu Shot Help Prevent a Heart Attack?

shot needle 300LEXINGTON, Ky. (11/5/13) – A study conducted by a group of international researchers has found that taking flu shots can lead to a reduced risk of cardiac 'events'. The results of the study were published in an October in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study reports that of 3,238 patients, who received a flu vaccine, 2.9 percent later had a "major cardiac event." But of the 3,231 patients who did not receive a flu shot, 4.7 percent later experienced a major cardiac event, such as a heart attack.

Dr. Charles Campbell is an associate professor of medicine at University of Kentucky HealthCare. Campbell said the study is what is known as a meta-analysis, or taking the results of small studies and lumping them together to get information not available in each of the individual studies.

“Usually what we say about meta-analyses is that in that of themselves, they are really hypothesis generated,” said Campbell. “In other words, they would be the kind of trial you use to go to the NIH (National Institute of Health) and say 'Look, it looks to me like flu shots are going to be very effective at preventing heart attacks, especially on high risk patients. We need to study that.'”

Yet, Campbell adds this study could be a situation where there is not enough interest at the federal level to fund further research, adding that it would be very hard to enroll people in a trial where they would have to not take a flu shot in order to compare them to those of whom do receive a flu shot.

“If you're my 80 year old grandmother, I want you to get your flu shot so you don't get the flu,” said Campbell. “It's going to be really hard for me to say we're going to take 80 year olds in the state of Kentucky and randomize some of them to get the flu shot and some of them not to, because everybody indicated to have the flu shot to have another reason. I don't think a big trial is necessarily going to come rolling out in the next couple years. We may be left with this meta-analysis as the best bit of data we can get.”

But, this isn't necessarily bad news, said Campbell. The information from the study can now be used to further convince patients to receive the flu shot.

“This data is just one more thing I pull out of my bag to help people make an informed decision about the flu shot,” said Campbell. “There is evidence that in addition to preventing the flu, you may be preventing cardiovascular events as well. That's what the evidence is hinting at. So, I view a meta-analysis as a suggestion, not a fact.”

Experts are uncertain as to why flu shots appear to provide increased cardiovascular protection. However, Campbell has a theory.

“I think that we know that acute respiratory infections raise inflammation, and inflammation leads to adverse cardiac events,” he said. “It seems to be, to my mind, to have something to do with that. Now, there were people years ago, who thought maybe the virus was actually related to the event. I don't think anybody has enough information to suggest that.”

Campbell added that he is happy to have this information in order to use it as another tool to promote getting a flu shot.

“There's some biology going on here that's worth understanding, and my guess is it has something to do with inflammation. That's what I tell my patients,” said Campbell. “It's not understood really well. But, if you were on the fence about taking the flu shot, I'd probably go ahead and get it.”

David Gillum
SurfKY News
Image provided by uhs.wisc.edu

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

In Other News...

Muhlenberg Job Corps Employee of the Month

MUHLENBERG, Ky. (4/18/14) — Miranda Hope is Student Counselor at the Muhlenberg Job Corps. She is a very dedicated and… Read More

Bremen Man Charged for Possession of Controlled Substance

BREMEN, Ky. (4/17/14) — Muhlenberg County Sheriff Det. Troy Gibson, assigned to the Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force,… Read More

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

April 16, 2014 19132

UPDATE- Sheriff's Office Following Leads…

in Top Stories by Taylor Riley, SurfKY News Reporter
April 14, 2014 6459

U.S. Bank Hanson on Lockdown Due to Bomb…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
April 14, 2014 5289

Pedestrian Killed During Two Vehicle…

in Top Stories by Chris E. King
April 17, 2014 4058

KSP Nabs St. Charles Man Wanted by U.S.…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
April 15, 2014 3101

Police Searching for Sureway's 'Baby…

in Top Stories by Taylor Riley, SurfKY News Reporter

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

April 14, 2014 5289

Pedestrian Killed During Two Vehicle…

in Top Stories by Chris E. King
April 17, 2014 4058

KSP Nabs St. Charles Man Wanted by U.S.…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
April 15, 2014 3101

Police Searching for Sureway's 'Baby…

in Top Stories by Taylor Riley, SurfKY News Reporter
April 15, 2014 2740

Multi-Agency Investigation Leads to Drug…

in Top Stories by Lori Blakeley
April 15, 2014 1060

State Approves $500K for Hopkins Archery…

in Top Stories by Rebecca Hanchett

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

April 14, 2014 2129

Grow Garden Grow - Spring Has Sprung

in News by Barbara Cecil Russ
April 15, 2014 1673

Owensboro Police Investigate Auto Accident

in News by Michael Hathaway
April 15, 2014 1325

Owensboro Parks Offers Tennis Lessons

in News by Britni Bunn
April 15, 2014 973

Happenings and Meetings Owensboro

in News by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News
April 14, 2014 697

Owensboro Health Hosts Tours for…

in Top Stories by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

April 16, 2014 3004

Sheriff's Deputies Nab Central City…

in Top Stories by Sheriff Curtis McGehee
April 14, 2014 2601

MCC Staff Shares Good News with…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News Reporter
April 15, 2014 1974

'Walk Right Back' An Everly Brother's…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News Reporter
April 15, 2014 1799

Local MCHS Students Train at Job Corps

in Top Stories by Karen Robinson
April 15, 2014 1471

Thumbpickers Unite at Mose Rager Day

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News Reporter

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)

SurfKY Owensboro News Bureau
920 Frederica St. / Suite 210  •  Owensboro, KY 42301  •  270.683-8060 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 06social 21social 22social 04social 03