(HealthDay News) – Influenza vaccination is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular events among those at high risk of cardiovascular disease, particularly among those with more active coronary disease, according to a review and meta-analysis published in the Oct. 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Jacob A. Udell, MD, MPH, from the University of Toronto, and colleagues identified and performed a meta-analysis of five published and one unpublished randomized clinical trials involving 6,735 patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease and comparing influenza vaccine vs. placebo or control. The mean follow-up time was 7.9 months.

The researchers found that influenza vaccination was associated with a significantly lower risk of composite cardiovascular events (2.9% vs. 4.7%; relative risk 0.64). The lower risk was largely confined to patients with a recent history of acute coronary syndrome (within one year of randomization; relative risk, 0.45; P<0.001) compared to those without a recent history of acute coronary syndrome (relative risk, 0.94; P=0.81).

“In a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials, the use of influenza vaccine was associated with a lower risk of major adverse cardiovascular events,” Udell and colleagues conclude. “The greatest treatment effect was seen among the highest-risk patients with more active coronary disease.”

Several authors disclosed financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies.

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