September 23, 2015 – Heart Attacks and Flu


Anchor lead:  If you need one more reason to get a flu shot, think heart attack, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Heart attacks, or myocardial infarctions as they’re known formally, are more likely in folks who have had the flu than in those who haven’t, a recent study in the British Medical Journal concludes.  Redonda Miller, an internal medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, describes the results.

Miller: What they found is that if you were a patient and contracted the flu, you were two times more likely to have an acute myocardial infarction. If you were a patient who received the flu vaccine, you had a 30% less likelihood of having an acute myocardial infarction.  So I think anything we can do to prevent infections, infections do have serious consequences, outside of just that acute episode.  :25

Miller reminds everyone that the flu season in the US is approaching, and the time to get a flu vaccine is now.  Recent federal data show that almost one-third of adults don’t get a flu shot, and as this study suggests, that’s risky behavior.  Getting a flu shot protects you and those whose immune systems don’t work as well, including the very young and very old. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.