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Influenza vaccine may reduce risk of major cardiac diseases

A new study suggests that influenza vaccination could be an important treatment for maintaining heart health and averting cardiovascular events like heart attack.

Canadian researchers have found that influenza vaccine not only protects people against getting sick, but can also ward off cardiovascular events and reduce the risk of related problems such as heart attack and cardiac death by 50 percent.

According to the study presented at the 2012 Canadian Cardiovascular Congress, the flu vaccine can also lower death from some other causes up to approximately 40 percent.

The research team from the TIMI Study Group and Network for Innovation in Clinical Research observed the published clinical trials on this subject dating back to the 1960s.

"For those who had the flu shot, there was a pretty strong risk reduction," said the cardiologist at Women's College Hospital and the University of Toronto and the study leader Dr. Jacob Udell.

He also noted that a large, lengthier multinational study would comprehensively indicate the vaccine's effectiveness to reduce fatal cardiac events and save lives.

The study supports recommendations for the use of the influenza vaccine in those at high risk of developing influenza-related complications, such as patients with heart disease or diabetes, and those who have close contact with people at high risk of developing complications, said Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson Dr. Beth Abramson.

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