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Influenza Vaccine Tied to Reduced Heart Attack Rate

But pneumococcal vaccine does not appear to decrease rate of first acute myocardial infarction

TUESDAY, Sept. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Influenza -- but not pneumococcal -- vaccination may reduce the rate of first acute myocardial infarction, according to a study published online Sept. 20 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

In a matched case-control study, A. Niroshan Siriwardena, Ph.D., of the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom, and colleagues evaluated 16,012 patients who were at least 40 years of age at diagnosis of first acute myocardial infarction between Nov. 1, 2001, and May 31, 2007, and were matched for sex, general practice, age, and calendar time with up to four controls each.

The investigators found that influenza vaccination was administered to 52.9 percent of cases and 51.2 percent of controls in the previous year, and was associated with a 19 percent decline in the acute myocardial infarction rate. Compared to vaccination after mid-November, early seasonal influenza vaccination was linked to a lower rate of acute myocardial infarction (adjusted odds ratios, 0.88 versus 0.79). The investigators also found that pneumococcal vaccination was not associated with a decline in the rate of acute myocardial infarction.

"Our findings reinforce current recommendations for annual influenza vaccination of target groups, with a potential added benefit for prevention of acute myocardial infarction in those without established cardiovascular disease," the authors write.

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