Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a common medical condition affecting millions worldwide. It results from atherosclerosis, a process in which fatty deposits, or plaque, build up in the walls of arteries, reducing blood flow to the heart. Patients with CAD are at a higher risk of developing complications, such as heart attacks and strokes.
Influenza is a respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that can cause significant morbidity and mortality, particularly in vulnerable populations. Patients with CAD are at a higher risk of severe influenza-related complications due to their compromised cardiovascular system. Influenza infection can cause an acute exacerbation of CAD, leading to acute coronary syndrome (ACS), a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.
According to The American Journal of Medicine, influenza vaccination is a proven intervention to reduce the risk of influenza infection and its associated complications. It is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for all individuals aged six months and older, particularly those at higher risk of influenza-related complications, such as patients with CAD.
The meta-analysis, which assessed the effectiveness of influenza vaccination in patients with ACS and stable CAD, found that the influenza vaccine significantly reduced the risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, major acute cardiovascular events, and ACS. These findings are consistent with previous studies that have demonstrated the benefits of influenza vaccination in reducing cardiovascular events and mortality in patients with CAD.
The researchers also found that influenza vaccination did not reduce the risk of revascularization, stroke or transient ischemic attack, or heart failure hospitalization. These results suggest that while influenza vaccination can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events and mortality in patients with CAD, it may not significantly impact other outcomes.
Despite the proven benefits of influenza vaccination, vaccination rates among patients with CAD remain low. A study conducted in the United States found that only 55% of patients with CAD received influenza vaccination during the 2019-2020 season. This underscores the need for healthcare providers to prioritize influenza vaccination in this vulnerable population and educate patients on the importance of vaccination in reducing influenza-related complications.
One of the most significant advantages of the influenza vaccine is its relatively cheap and effective intervention. Patients with coronary artery disease who receive the vaccine are less likely to develop severe flu symptoms that could weaken their heart muscles and lead to cardiovascular complications. Moreover, the vaccine can boost the immune system and improve overall health, reducing the risk of developing long-term health issues.
In conclusion, the meta-analysis provides strong evidence for the benefits of influenza vaccination in reducing the risk of mortality and major cardiovascular events in patients with CAD, particularly those with ACS. Therefore, healthcare providers should encourage patients with coronary artery disease to receive the influenza vaccine, particularly those with the acute coronary syndrome.