Portuguese Society of Cardiology recommends flu vaccines and pneumonia

Positioning was released today

The Portuguese Society of Cardiology (SPC) recommends flu and pneumonia vaccines to anyone who has heart disease because of the increased risks of respiratory infections for these patients.

In a position published today, the Cardiovascular Risk, Heart Failure, Myocardial and Pericardial Diseases and Pulmonary Hypertension Study Groups of the SPC recall that cardiovascular diseases have a more serious expression in cold weather, to which the influenza virus is added .

“There is evidence from various sources confirming that respiratory infections by influenza viruses or pneumococci increase the risk of myocardial infarction more than six times in the first three days of evolution and influence the in-hospital prognosis, leading to further complications , higher mortality and longer average hospital stay», say the experts, who advise doctors who follow these patients to recommend vaccines for influenza and pneumonia.

In a statement, those responsible for these study groups of the SPC underline that, "in heart failure, these infections generate more hospitalizations for decompensation, more pulmonary and renal complications that require invasive treatments and higher in-hospital mortality."

If it is true that the flu is generally benign – they stress – “it does not cease, however, to cause serious disturbances in health units, with a significant increase in the influx of individuals to appointments and emergencies, school and work absenteeism, incidence of serious illnesses, such as secondary bacterial pneumonias and the destabilization or development of serious cardiovascular diseases».

“Various scientific bodies and societies, even in the absence of randomized clinical trials, recommend vaccination for influenza virus A and B and for the Streptococcus pneumoniae in patients with chronic cardiac pathology», they recall, giving the example of the General Directorate of Health (DGS).

In the norm issued for influenza vaccination, DGS considers people aged 65 and over as a priority target group to whom it recommends (free) vaccination. It also recommends vaccination (acquired with reimbursement) for patients with cardiovascular disease, such as congenital heart disease, hypertensive heart disease, chronic heart failure and ischemic heart disease.

As regards pneumonia vaccination, DGS considers patients with chronic heart disease to be an increased risk group for invasive pneumococcal disease.

The flu vaccine should be taken during the autumn/winter, preferably until the end of the calendar year, and the pneumonia vaccine can be given at any time of the year.

In today's statement, SPC specialists underline that “the effectiveness and safety of vaccines for influenza virus A and B and for the Streptococcus pneumoniae (…) endorses the clinical benefit of its use” and advises professionals who follow these patients to recommend both vaccines.