Davis Motor Sales banner ad

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 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...

March Events and More at Land Between the Lakes

KENTUCKY (2/28/15) — The following are the upcoming events and more at Land Between The Lakes: The Golden Pond Visitor… Read More

Endowment Partners with Cheri for Free Screenings of Unique Film

MURRAY, Ky. (3/1/15) — On Thursday, March 26, audiences in Murray can attend free screenings of “Alive Inside” at Cheri… Read More

Most Read This Week

February 25, 2015 7373

Multi-Agency Investigation Nets Large-Scale Meth…

in Top News For All Sites by Trooper Stu Recke
February 24, 2015 7233

Two Charged in Central City Meth Bust

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
February 22, 2015 7087

Easter Cuties Pageant in Memory of Shanice Bean

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
February 25, 2015 6105

New Asian Restaurant Coming to Madisonville

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
February 23, 2015 4903

Fire Departments Respond to Wester's Body Shop

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Shawn Freels
February 24, 2015 4584

School Board Holding Special Called Meeting

in Muhlenberg News by Sherri Miller

Most Read This Month

February 12, 2015

UPDATE: Name of Pennyrile Fatality Officially…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
February 09, 2015

Police Pursue Man after Fight at Taco Bell

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center

Stories Trending Today

March 02, 2015 2963

Madisonville Teen Faces Numerous Drug Charges

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
March 01, 2015 1657

HCCHS Student Has Unique Eye for Art

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
March 01, 2015 1384

4H Penguin Plunge Draws Hundreds to Poolside

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
March 01, 2015 1066

Dave Says - March 1, 2015

in General News For All Sites by Dave Ramsey
March 01, 2015 1044

Whitfield Meets with American Financial Services…

in General News For All Sites by Robert Hankins
March 01, 2015 999

West Broadway Vendor Event, Tag Sale Planned

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
March 01, 2015 986

Legislator's Log - Week of March 1, 2015

in General News For All Sites by Brent Yonts
March 01, 2015 967

Libraries’ Drawing Contest Begins March 2

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Amie Waltrip
March 01, 2015 944

Kentucky Offers Tax Credit to Small Business…

in General News For All Sites by Joe Hall
March 01, 2015 912

Outdoor Truths - March 1, 2015

in General News For All Sites by Gary Miller