Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Fayette | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Warren | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

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...

Fifth Third on Main Street Comes Down

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (4/19/14) — The walls are tumbling down at the Fifth Third Bank location on Main Street and West… Read More

MPD Arrests Juveniles for Reason Rash of Arsons

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (4/19/14) — Detectives with the Madisonville Police Department Criminal Investigation Unit placed… Read More

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

April 16, 2014 19908

UPDATE- Sheriff's Office Following Leads…

in Top Stories by Taylor Riley, SurfKY News Reporter
April 17, 2014 4518

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

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
April 16, 2014 3541

Sheriff's Deputies Nab Central City…

in Top Stories by Sheriff Curtis McGehee
April 17, 2014 3398

Meet The Hopkins County Magistrate…

in News by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
April 16, 2014 2091

Rand Paul - 'We Need a New President'

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News Reporter

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

April 17, 2014 4518

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

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
April 18, 2014 1249

Talking Teen Trashed Telephone Pole,…

in Top Stories by MPD
April 18, 2014 1000

Earlington Traffic Stop Results in Meth…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
April 19, 2014 987

Fifth Third on Main Street Comes Down

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
April 17, 2014 798

Center Street-Island Ford Connector in…

in Top Stories by Rebecca Hanchett

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

April 16, 2014 1370

New Home Health Care Opens in Owensboro

in News by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News
April 18, 2014 1357

Daviess County School Board Hears…

in News by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News
April 18, 2014 1332

One Arrested, Another Injured in Single…

in News by J.D. Marksberry
April 16, 2014 1150

DCPS to Celebrate National Volunteer Week

in News by Lora Wimsatt
April 17, 2014 347

Owensboro Public Works Declares 'War on…

in Top Stories by Abby Shelton

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

April 16, 2014 3541

Sheriff's Deputies Nab Central City…

in Top Stories by Sheriff Curtis McGehee
April 17, 2014 1771

Bremen Man Charged for Possession of…

in Top Stories by Muhlenberg Sheriff Curtis McGehee
April 16, 2014 1744

South Carrollton Woman Injured in Head-on…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
April 17, 2014 1598

Watson Family Tragedy Inspires Muhlenberg…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News Reporter
April 16, 2014 1557

Three Injured in Kentucky 70 Collision

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke

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