The CDCP has said that this flu season is the worst and most widespread in a decade. Across the nation, flu-related hospitalizations are spiking The most recent statistics show the number of flu-related hospitalizations doubling every two weeks. And if that weren’t bad enough, new research published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine seems to show a correlation between acute MIs in patients previously diagnosed with flu. Researchers say that a bad case of the flu may trigger, for a short amount of time, a substantial increase in risks for an AMI.
The study looked at 20,000 flu patients and found that 332 of those patients suffered an AMI patients who’d recently received treatment for the flu. The results showed that a heart attack was six times more likely to strike following or while recovering with the flu. As alarming as these figures are, it has long been established that flu increases risks for MI in vulnerable patients. This is why American College of Cardiology (ACC) urges all cardiac patients to get their annual flu shot.
The connection is thought to be a result of widespread inflammation caused by the flu. The theory is this: in a person who has plaques experiences inflammation throughout the body which would in turn rupture the plaque and cause an acute event.
The study found, on average patients were six times more likely to suffer a heart attack in the week after their flu infection was confirmed. The study also indicates that patients may face a similar increase in heart attacks for patients suffering acute respiratory infections which is another source of inflammation.
While the flu shot is not perfect even some protection is better than no protection at all. For patients with pre-existing heart or lung conditions, it is important to practice good hygiene such as regular hand washing and wearing a mask when in public.
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