Influenza vaccination in patients with high blood pressure is associated with an 18% reduced risk of death during flu season, according to research presented at ESC Congress 2019 together with the World Congress of Cardiology.
“Given these results, it is my belief that all patients with high blood pressure should have an annual flu vaccination,” said the first author Daniel Modin research associate of
the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
The study suggested that vaccination could also protect against fatal heart attacks and strokes, and deaths from other causes.
According to previous research, the stress flu infection puts on the body may trigger heart attacks and strokes. By stopping flu infection, vaccination could also protect against cardiovascular events, but until now this had not been investigated.
The study used Danish nationwide healthcare registers to identify 608,452 patients aged 18 to 100 years with hypertension during nine consecutive influenza seasons (2007 to 2016). The researchers determined how many patients had received a flu vaccine prior to each season. They then followed patients over each season and tracked how many died. In particular, they recorded death from all causes, death from any cardiovascular cause, and death from heart attack or stroke.
Finally, they analysed the association between receiving a vaccine prior to flu season and the risk of death during flu season. The analysis controlled for patient characteristics that could impact the likelihood of dying such as age, comorbidities, medications, and socioeconomic status.