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Vaccinate to Prevent AF?

Getting hit by the flu sometime within the past year, among those not vaccinated against it, raises the risk of developing atrial fibrillation (AF) by a significant 18%, while the risk drops a significant 12% for those who are vaccinated against and don"t contract the flu, suggests a large observational study based on 10 years of health insurance records in Taiwan. The analysis also suggested that persons who develop influenza despite having been vaccinated had a risk of developing AF similar to the reference group, those without flu or vaccination.

The findings support the view that "influenza infection may increase the risk of AF, and the risk could be reduced through vaccination," write Dr Ting-Young Chan (Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan) and colleagues in their report published February 1 in Heart Rhythm. "High-risk patients should be encouraged to receive influenza vaccination annually."