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Heart-failure patients who have received flu and pneumonia shots have better outcomes

ESC 2020
Reuters Health - 03/09/2020 - A large observational study supports the benefits of influenza and pneumococcal vaccines for heart-failure patients, finding fewer deaths in those who get the recommended immunizations.

Using the National Inpatient Sample, Dr. Karthik Gonuguntla of the University of Connecticut and colleagues identified more than 2.9 million patients with heart failure who were hospitalized between 2010 and 2014. Their mean age was 70 years; 60% were men.

Overall, only 1.4% of patients had the flu vaccine and only 1.3% had the pneumonia vaccine in the prior year. Rates of in-hospital mortality were significantly lower in heart-failure patients who had the flu vaccine relative to their peers who did not (1.3% vs. 3.6%; P<0.001).

The same was true for the pneumonia vaccine, with rates of in-hospital mortality 1.2% in those who got the vaccine versus 3.6% in those who did not (P<0.001).

Dr. Gonuguntla reported the findings on August 28 at the European Society of Cardiology Virtual Congress.

"Respiratory infections have been associated with worsening underlying heart failure and frequent re-admissions. Vaccinations against these infections may serve to be an effective intervention," he told Reuters Health by email. "Our study results confirm results from existing literature which showed improved overall outcomes in heart-failure patients with prior flu or pneumococcal vaccines."

"Based on the current guidelines, it is recommended that all patients with chronic heart failure receive these vaccines as they are more susceptible compared to the general population," Dr. Gonuguntla said.

"People need to understand how vital these vaccines would be in preventing these respiratory infections to decrease the mortality and morbidity. Physicians need to continue to constantly educate their patients about the benefits of these vaccines during every encounter. These vaccines can also be associated with minor side effects which are easily treated. So, it is important to have a detailed discussion with the patient regarding the pros and cons of the vaccine," he added.

The researchers report no funding or conflicts of interest.

By Megan Brooks

SOURCE: https://bit.ly/32AWJO8 European Society of Cardiology Virtual Congress 2020.

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