Respiratory Infections, Especially Flu, Linked to Increased MI Risk

Increased incidence of acute myocardial infarction in first 7 days after positive respiratory viral diagnosis
Increased incidence of acute myocardial infarction in first 7 days after positive respiratory viral diagnosis

HealthDay News — Certain respiratory infections, especially influenza, are associated with an increased risk of acute myocardial infarction during the first 7 days after respiratory specimen collection, according to a study published in the January 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Jeffrey C. Kwong, MD, from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto, and colleagues used a self-controlled case-series design to examine the correlation between laboratory-confirmed influenza infection and hospitalization for acute myocardial infarction. High-specificity laboratory methods were used to confirm influenza infection in respiratory specimens, and hospitalization for acute myocardial infarction was ascertained from administrative data. 

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The researchers identified 364 hospitalizations for acute myocardial infarction that occurred within 1 year before and 1 year after a positive influenza test. Twenty of these occurred during the risk interval (first 7 days after respiratory specimen collection) and 344 occurred during the control interval (1 year before and 1 year after the risk interval). The incidence ratio was 6.05 for admission for acute myocardial infarction during the risk interval versus the control interval. After day 7 there was no increased incidence. The incidence ratios were 10.11, 5.17, 3.51, and 2.77 for acute myocardial infarction within 7 days of detection of influenza B, influenza A, respiratory syncytial virus, and other viruses, respectively.

"We found a significant association between respiratory infections, especially influenza, and acute myocardial infarction," the authors write.

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