Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | 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...

UPDATE: Medical Examiner's Official Report Released in Quadruple Shooting Deaths

UPDATE: CADIZ, Ky. (10/29/14) — Kentucky State Police is continuing its investigation into the deaths of four people… Read More

Blood Donor Gives 17th Gallon of Blood to MCCH Blood Donor Center

MURRAY, Ky. (10/28/14) — Jamie Washer recently donated his 17th gallon of blood to the blood donor center. Mr. Washer,… Read More

Most Read This Week

October 29, 2014 9001

UPDATE: Medical Examiner's Official Report…

in Local (Lakes) Top News by Dennis Thomas
October 24, 2014 7809

Central City Man Charged with Sexual Assault on…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Chris Cooper
October 27, 2014 6171

Earlington Woman Charged With Burglary for…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 23, 2014 4640

Don Everly to be Part of Rock and Roll Hall of…

in Top News For All Sites by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
October 27, 2014 4408

Baptist Health Madisonville Performs Baptist…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Kristy Quinn
October 29, 2014 4212

UPDATE: Two More Arrested for Meth at Area Motel

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
October 28, 2014 4132

UPDATE: 'Runner' Ran Home; Family Happy

in Hopkins News by Lisa Crook
October 24, 2014 4029

Miners Turn Out in Madisonville for…

in Top News For All Sites by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
October 28, 2014 3464

UPDATE: Extended to Wednesday; Heaven's Gates and…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
October 27, 2014 3386

Woman Charged for Domestic Assault with Scissors,…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department

Stories Trending Today

October 29, 2014 9001

UPDATE: Medical Examiner's Official Report…

in Local (Lakes) Top News by Dennis Thomas
October 29, 2014 4212

UPDATE: Two More Arrested for Meth at Area Motel

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
October 29, 2014 3322

Central City Businessman Indicted by Grand Jury…

in Top News For All Sites by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
October 29, 2014 2756

Hypodermic Needle Sticking Out of Jacket During…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 29, 2014 2578

Pennyrile Gymnastic Team to Perform on 'America's…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
October 30, 2014 2425

UPDATE: Missing Elderly Couple Found

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Chief William C. Crider
October 29, 2014 2333

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Oct. 29, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
October 29, 2014 2241

Huge Crowds Visit Uncle Lee’s First Day of…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
October 30, 2014 2097

Three Injured When Pickup Truck Overturns

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
October 29, 2014 1961

Trespassing Complaint Ends with Shoplifting Arrest

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
Corporate Office & Studio
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


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

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flrsocial rss