FYI from the NHLBI Index

January 2010: Vol. 10, Issue 3
Constituents' Corner

Protecting Heart Patients from the Seasonal Flu

Protecting Heart Patients from the Seasonal Flu

Patients with heart disease are at high risk for serious and potentially life-threatening complications from seasonal influenza. In fact, flu-related death is more common among individuals with heart disease than among people with any other chronic medical condition.

Despite recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Heart Association, and the American College of Cardiology that the more than 12 million people in the United States with cardiovascular conditions should get vaccinated against the flu, in 2007 forty percent of adults living with heart disease did not receive a flu shot.

We all understand that living with heart disease is a constant struggle and that getting a flu vaccination may not be foremost in the minds of heart patients. As a result, many may not be aware that getting a simple flu shot can help protect them from serious complications associated with this common disease.

To address the low flu vaccination rates among heart disease patients, Mended Hearts has launched “I Heart Flu Shots,” an educational campaign that helps educate people living with heart disease about the importance of getting a seasonal flu shot.

Initially launched nationwide in 2007, the I Heart Flu Shots program has now reached all Mended Hearts chapters at the local level with this vital heart health message. However, our efforts alone are not enough—we need your help in spreading the message of the importance of vaccination to the entire heart community.

By encouraging each of our heart patients to get a seasonal flu shot, we may help them avoid flu and its complications this season. Getting vaccinated is one of the easiest and most important steps that every person in the heart community can take to help ensure that their loved ones can lead healthy, productive lives, without suffering from the complications of the flu.

For more information about I Heart Flu Shots, please visit

Submitted by Raul Fernandes, President, The Mended Hearts, Inc.


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