Issue: October 2020
Disclosures: Chow reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study and editorial for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
August 24, 2020
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12% of adults hospitalized with flu experience acute CV events

Issue: October 2020
Disclosures: Chow reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study and editorial for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
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Nearly 12% of adults hospitalized for influenza also had an acute cardiovascular event, data show.

According to researchers, the finding underscores the need to increase influenza vaccination rates, particularly among patients with CV risk factors and chronic conditions.

Common CV events among more than 80,000 patients hospitalized with influenza: Acute heart failure: 6.2% & acute ischemic heart disease: 5.7%
Chow EJ, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2020;doi:10.7326/M20-1509.

The relationship between influenza virus infection and CVD has been established, but population-based studies examining the frequency of acute CV events associated with influenza are scarce, Eric J. Chow, MD, a researcher with the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, and colleagues wrote in Annals of Internal Medicine.

To fill in this research gap, researchers analyzed the U.S. Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-NET) records of 80,261 adults (median age, 69 years) who were hospitalized for influenza during the 2010-2011 through 2017-2018 influenza seasons.

Chow and colleagues reported that 11.7% of the patients had an acute CV event. The most common, non-mutually exclusive of these events were acute heart failure (6.2%) and acute ischemic heart disease (5.7%). Some of the less commonly reported acute CV events included hypertensive crisis (1%), cardiogenic shock (0.3%), acute myocarditis (0.1%), acute pericarditis (0.05%) and/or cardiac tamponade (0.02%).

Also, diabetes, older age, renal disease, tobacco use and underlying CVD were significantly associated with higher risk for acute heart failure and acute ischemic heart disease. Patients with any acute CV event had a median length hospital stay of 5 days; 31.2% were admitted to an ICU, 14% required mechanical ventilatory support and 7.3% died in the hospital.

Increasing rates of influenza vaccination, especially among those with cardiovascular risk factors, is essential in preventing infection and potentially attenuating influenza-related cardiovascular complications and adverse outcomes,” Chow and colleagues wrote.

Raina MacIntyre, MBBS Hons, PhD, FRACP, FAFPHM, head of the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of New South Wales in Australia, noted in a related editorial that CVD is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide.

“So, by preventing a proportion of acute cardiovascular events, influenza vaccination will have a substantial public health benefit and will likely be cost-beneficial,” she wrote.