THURSDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- Flu vaccination is safe
for kidney transplant patients and lowers their risk of organ loss
and death, a new study says.
Kidney transplant patients face a high risk of death if they get
infected with flu, but some previous studies have suggested that
flu vaccines could trigger an immune response that might lead to
rejection of the new organ, the study authors noted.
In addition, some research has suggested that immune
system-suppressing drugs that transplant patients must take may
reduce the effectiveness of flu vaccines.
In this new study, researchers analyzed Medicare data about flu
vaccination and flu cases in 51,730 adults who received a kidney
transplant between January 2000 and July 2006 and were followed
until October 2006.
Of those patients, 9,678 -- or 18.7 percent -- received a flu
vaccination in the first year after their transplant. These
patients were 23 percent less likely to suffer organ loss and 18
percent less likely to die during the study period than patients
who didn't receive a flu vaccination, the researchers found.
The 310 study patients (0.6 percent) who got the flu were no
more likely to lose their transplanted kidney than those who did
not get the flu.
The study is published online April 28 in the
Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
The findings show that flu vaccination shouldn't be withheld
from kidney transplant patients because of fears that the new organ
could be harmed, said Dr. Frank Hurst of the Walter Reed Army
Medical Center and F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine, and
colleagues in a journal news release.
However, they added, there's no proof that flu vaccination
actually prevents flu in kidney transplant recipients.
The National Kidney Foundation has more about