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Halving the risk of cardiovascular death with the flu shot: for cardiologists


Influenza epidemics are associated with a significant increase in cardiovascular deaths.

A link between influenza infection and cardiovascular morbidity has been known for almost a century and more recent research quantifies the cardioprotective properties of influenza vaccination:

  • Influenza infection is associated with a six-fold risk of developing a heart attack or stroke or dying from cardiovascular causes in the subsequent 2 weeks.
  • Seasonal influenza immunisation may reduce a patient’s risk of cardiovascular death by up to 50%.

Cardiologists strongly encourage adherence to anticoagulants and heart failure medication and understand the critical importance of smoking cessation – but is the same emphasis applied to influenza vaccination, when the relative benefits approximate those of statins?

Fewer than 50% of those under 65 years of age with cardiac disease receive the influenza immunisation and many cardiac patients perceive the flu to be a nuisance rather than a credible threat to their cardiac and overall health.

Given its demonstrable cardiac protection and considering the risk profile of cardiology patients, cardiologists have a central role in recommending flu vaccination in partnership with general practitioners.

This educational activity has been designed to arm cardiologists with the knowledge to discuss the benefits of influenza immunisation and to consider recommending or referring their patients for vaccination.


Sponsored: This activity is sponsored by Sanofi.


  1. Describe the link between influenza infection and higher rates of cardiovascular events
  2. Outline the role influenza vaccination can play in protection from cardiovascular death
  3. List the patient and physician barriers to implementing routine influenza vaccination in target and priority cardiovascular disease populations
  4. Summarise a framework for collaboration between GP, cardiologist and patient to improve uptake of annual influenza vaccination in target populations


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CPD Activity Details
Provider name
Educational Activities
General Learning
Course / module
CPD Hours
1h : 0m
General Practice and Primary Care
General registration
Applicable CAPE Aspects

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