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

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 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 on social media.

In Other News...

Happenings, Meetings Listed for Following Week

HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (8/30/15) ― The following happenings and meetings are scheduled for next week: • Calvary Temple… Read More

3rd Annual '9/11 Heroes Run' Fast Approaching

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (8/30/15) — Tim Thomas speaks with Kelly Forbes and Whitney Wardrip with the 9/11 Heroes Run on this… Read More
1 DOW 16,643.01
-11.76 (-0.07%)    
2 S&P 1,988.87
+1.21 (0.06%)    
3 NASDAQ 4,828.33
+15.62 (0.32%)    

Most Read This Week

August 24, 2015 11315

Teen Reports Slasher Attempted to Attack Him on…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
August 24, 2015 6245

Alleged Burglar Calls 911 to Report Fire

by SurfKY News
August 24, 2015 5147

UPDATE: Four Dead, Two Survive Boating Accident

by SurfKY News
August 27, 2015 4698

All is Well after MNHHS Lockdown

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
August 24, 2015 4450

MPD Coducting Sobriety Checkpoints

by SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

August 06, 2015 16810

Muhlenberg Woman Reportedly Suffers Violent…

by SurfKY News
August 24, 2015 11315

Teen Reports Slasher Attempted to Attack Him on…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

August 30, 2015 3147

UPDATED: 'He Fought the Law ... but, the Law Won'

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
August 29, 2015 1749

UK Part of First Study on Marijuana Compound…

by SurfKY News
August 30, 2015 1665

Happenings, Meetings Listed for Following Week

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
August 29, 2015 1271

Kentucky State Park Camping Deal Offered in…

by SurfKY News
August 29, 2015 1159

All Occasions Formals to Host Celebration to…

by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
August 29, 2015 1094

Police Searching for Suspect for Attempted ATM…

by SurfKY News
August 29, 2015 1084

UK Student Gaming System to Support Learning for…

by SurfKY News
August 30, 2015 1027

Commission Recommends Zoning Changes at Mahr…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
August 30, 2015 841

Smoke Fills Business, Upstairs Apartment on Center

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
August 29, 2015 604

Keeping the Faith - 'The Wisdom to Wait'

by SurfKY News