Flu jab problems for heart failure

Patients with heart failure remain vulnerable to influenza despite having annual flu jabs, US research suggests.

Heart failure patients have lower immune responses to flu jabs than healthy individuals, according to findings presented at the ACC.

The study involved 29 heart failure patients and 17 healthy volunteers who had blood samples taken before and after flu vaccines to assess levels of antibodies and T-cell responses.

Lead researcher Dr Orly Vardeny, from the pharmacy school at the University Of Wisconsin-Madison, said: 'Healthy individuals had stronger antibody responses to the influenza vaccine and therefore better protection from infection.

'Patients with heart failure did not respond as well to the newest vaccine viral strains, which are selected and incorporated into the vaccine each year to match influenza strains expected to circulate.'

Findings indicate that other preventative steps might be needed to bolster protection against influenza in those with heart failure, said Dr Vardeny.

However, the data do not mean that heart failure patients should be precluded from annual influenza vaccination, she added.

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