Influenza, commonly known as the flu infection increases the risk of a heart attack
Acute respiratory infections may trigger severe heart attacks (also known as acute myocardial infarction MI). An earlier study had found that the influenza vaccination can reduce risks associated with cardiovascular diseases and mortality due to the flu or influenza infection. But the protection offered by the vaccines in elder people may not be as effective as in younger people as immunity strength reduces with age. That study had supported existing international guidelines advocating the flu shots (also known as influenza vaccines or flu jabs) to high risk to heart attack individuals affected with flu or influenza infection.
People who are at high risk for the development of flu-related complications are.
There are heart attack events even in young people affected by flu or influenza. As heart attack events are exceedingly rare among younger people aged less than 35 years, researchers suggest a link between flu infection and heart attack.
Researchers wanted to find out the association between acute myocardial infarction MI (or heart attack) and laboratory-confirmed influenza infection. In a first study showing the quantum of heart attack risk with influenza, a Canadian self-controlled case-series design study shows six times increased risk of severe heart attack among individuals during the first seven days of laboratory-confirmed flu or influenza infection when compared to a risk of a heart attack one year before or after.
Researchers have conducted analytical studies among about 20,000 adult heart attack patients from Ontario, Canada from 2009 to 2014, aged more than 35 years. They were with laboratory-confirmed influenza infection one year before. Health records show
The analytical study results show.
Authors say influenza infections may lower blood pressure causing a lower amount of oxygen in the blood. The heart pumps blood faster to compensate lower oxygen levels in the blood causing heart attacks among those people with early heart disease.
Infection also causes inflammation in the arteries. There are enhanced heart attack risks with the inflammation due to the formation of blood clots in the arteries supplying blood to heart and heart tissues.
This study results also show a possible immediate heart attack risk within seven days with laboratory-confirmed influenza infection. Authors say patients with acute respiratory infection should take flu shots immediately.
Researchers say those sick individuals affected with the flu should take precautions with measures such as washing their hands regularly, staying at home, taking flu shots (also known as influenza vaccines or flu jabs) and prevent the spreading of respiratory infections and influenza.
The study was funded by following organizations.
Lead author of the study was Dr. Jeffrey C. Kwong, MD, MSc, CCFP, FRCPC, senior core scientist, Primary Care & Population Health Research Program, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), Toronto, Canada. The study findings were published January 25, 2018, in the New England Journal of Medicine. Title of the article was "Acute Myocardial Infarction after Laboratory-Confirmed Influenza Infection."
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