Flu doubles heart attack risk

Patients suffering from flu are twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke than healthy patients, UK research suggests.

The research team showed that the risk of a heart attack or stroke was four times higher within three days of falling ill with flu and double in the week following the start of the flu infection.

For this latest study, the researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine examined a disease database that contained information on two million patients registered with 500 GPs.

The database was used to identify all cases of a first-time diagnosis of MI or stroke.

A total of 11, 155 MI cases and 9,208 cases of stroke were identified. Database information on the number of respiratory infections showed that cases MI and stroke were twice as likely in the week following an infection.

There was also some evidence of an association between recent urinary tract infection and subsequent MI or stroke.

The researchers concluded that that benefits of reducing respiratory infection, either through ensuring high immunisation rates or by treating and preventing infection, may be substantial.


View the research

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