Odds of Heart Attack Six Times Higher With Flu Diagnosis

18 Apr 2023 • People diagnosed with influenza are six times more likely to have a heart attack within the first week that they test positive for the influenza virus than they are in the year before or the year after, a new study indicates. The research led by Dr. De Boer & team explains that the connection between influenza and heart attack lies in the influenza virus's ability to increase the clotting of blood. That coagulation, along with inflammation from the body's immune response, can weaken the plaques and cause it to rupture.

What did the study find?

  • The laboratories confirmed 26,221 cases of influenza between 2008 and 2019. Among those with influenza, 401 people had at least one myocardial infarction within 1 year of flu diagnosis (a total of 419).
  • Of the 419, 25 cases were in the first 7 days after flu diagnosis, 217 within the year before diagnosis, and 177 occurred in the year after influenza diagnosis (excluding those in the first 7 days.)
  • About one third of the people (139 in 401) died of any cause within 1 year of flu diagnosis, the authors write.

The Dutch researchers calculated that study participants were 6.16 times more likely to have a heart attack in the week after an influenza diagnosis than they were in the year before or after.

Implications for Practice This study raises more awareness about the seriousness and consequences of influenza. "It could precipitate serious, life-threatening problems." It also supports the necessity of vaccination. The current findings will be presented by de Boer today at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Source: Medscape | Read full story

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