UK scientists have called on the Government to offer the swine flu vaccine to patients with heart conditions after research established a link between heart attacks and the the H1N1 virus.
The scientists, who had their research published the Lancet Infectious Diseases, analysed 39 previous studies of such patients and found that up to half of all unexpected flu deaths were caused by heart disease or heart attacks.
They added that, while swine flu was no more dangerous than regular influenza, it was important for patients to be vaccinated because a larger number of flu viruses would be in circulation in the next year.
Andrew Hayward, one of the study’s authors, said: ‘We know the influenza vaccine is effective in preventing influenza and therefore, in theory, ought to be effective in preventing the complications of influenza.’
He added that the research had shown heart patients who received a flu shot had fewer heart attacks than those who did not.