Another Benefit to the Influenza Vaccine- Decrease in Mortality in Patients with Heart Failure?

INTERESTING FACT OF THE MONTH

An analysis of 6 different studies spanning 3 continents—North America, Europe, and Asia—and consisting of more than 78,000 patients with heart failure, implies that the risk of all-cause mortality decreases by half after vaccination against influenza. Scientists from the Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in Nagoya, Japan, looked at 5 observational studies of patients’ health records and 1 retrospective analysis of a clinical trial. The results of the analyzed studies showed that the risk of all-cause death among patients with heart failure decreased by 50% during the flu season and 20% for the rest of the year in vaccinated patients. Influenza vaccination was also associated with a 22% decrease in the risk of hospitalization for cardiovascular events. The studies also revealed wide variations in the number of vaccinated patients with heart failure, ranging from 28% to 86% in different cohorts. However, these studies were mostly observational in nature and cannot readily indicate a causal relationship between the flu shot and decreased mortality. Nevertheless, these results suggest that pharmacists can have a major role in optimizing care in patients with heart failure by promoting vaccination.

To learn more about the annual influenza vaccine and how pharmacists can play a role, visit our on-demand webinar, Pharmacists as Advocates for Annual Influenza Vaccine.

This activity is supported by an educational grant from Sanofi Pasteur U.S.

CASE IN POINT Test your problem-solving skills!

Here are snippets from our on-demand Medical Crossfire®: The Evolving Era of Cancer Immunotherapy. Try to answer the question and then check your answer by participating in this online CE activity.

This activity is supported by an educational grant from Genentech.
 
Paul is a 75-year-old man who was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in the left lower lobe 18 months ago: 
 
- Genomic testing: No EGFR or ALK mutations
-History: Initially treated with platinum doublet chemotherapy which resulted in a decrease in tumor size and reductions of symptoms including back pain, dyspnea and persistent coughing
- New Symptoms: Complaints of new lower back pain, increased dyspnea and a feeling of tightness in his chest. 
-Test Results: Radiographic studies reveal an increase in tumor volume and new lesions in the upper left lobe and brain
-Social History: Smoker

Which of the following treatment options would be most appropriate for Paul at this time?
 
A.    Docetaxel
B.    Ipilimumab
C.    Tremelimumab
D.    Atezolizumab

Answer to Case in Point is D: Atezolizumab