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Flu jab may protect middle-aged patients with heart disease

Thursday, August 22, 2013

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Raina macintyre

Middle-aged people with hidden heart disease may gain protection from flu vaccination, researchers reveal today.

A study has found that receiving vaccination halves the risk of heart attacks in people over the age of 50 with narrowed arteries.

Australian researchers say their findings may show that flu is a clinically important factor in the risk of heart attack.

Researchers compared 275 patients who suffered a heart attack with another 284 who had not.

The study found no link between suffering flu and having a heart attack - but they did find that being vaccinated was linked to a 45% reduced risk of suffering a heart attack.

Writing in the journal Heart, the researchers call for flu vaccination programmes to be extended to people over the age of 50.

Researcher Professor Raina Macintyre, of the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, writes: "As such, even a small effect of influenza vaccination in preventing heart attacks may have significant population health gains."

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