People struck down by flu are six times more likely to suffer a heart attack within a week of their diagnosis, a new study warns.
Researchers say their findings reinforce the need for people deemed at high risk of suffering a heart attack to get a flu shot.
The team at Public Health Ontario in Canada discovered a 'significant association' between acute respiratory infections, particularly influenza, and acute myocardial infarction, the medical name for a heart attack.
The researchers also found an elevated risk of heart attack from other respiratory viruses, but none as high as flu.
Experts warn the findings, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggest the risk may be higher for older adults, patients with influenza B infections, and patients experiencing their first heart attack.