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Flu Shot Reduces Risk of Heart Attack

It is no secret that influenza infection, also known as the flu, can wreak havoc on one’s health, especially if preexisting health conditions are present. This is especially true for those with cardiovascular disease, with whom the risk of morbidity and mortality is significantly increased.

Thanks to the flu shot, the severity of the flu in individuals—and in society at large—is reduced. It has long been known that for those with risk factors, including cardiovascular disease, the benefits are even more pronounced.


Benefits of Flu Vaccine

The flu vaccine is available by shot and nasal mist. In two weeks of vaccination, vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body. It reduces the severity of the disease and helps to prevent hospitalization. The vaccine offers protection to your family from the influenza virus which can be enhanced by ensuring other families in your community also get their flu shot. According to CDC “Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year”. Some people are more likely to develop flu-related complications as compared to others. This high-risk group should get a vaccine every year.

  1. Adults older than 65 years
  2. Pregnant women
  3. Children younger than 5 years
  4. People who have medical problems like congestive heart failure, blockage in heart arteries, diabetes, COPD, cystic fibrosis, etc

Benefits of Flu Vaccine for Cardiac Patients

A recent study determined to demonstrate the advantages that the influenza vaccine offers those with heart problems and prove that receiving the flu shot drastically alters outcomes for those with cardiovascular disease.

Using data from 16 total studies, including both randomized controlled trials (4) and observational studies (12), researchers set out to determine the effect the flu vaccine may have on mortality and the cardiovascular outcomes of those with cardiovascular disease.

Those included in the study had a mean age of 69.2 years. Approximately 63% were men, 65% had hypertension, nearly a third had diabetes mellitus, and nearly a quarter identified as smokers. The median follow-up period was 19.5 months.

Through the course of the study, researchers found that receiving the flu shot was associated with lower incidence of death from any cause or cardiovascular reasons, and major adverse cardiovascular events when compared to the control (no flu shot).


What it Means

The flu shot has been a proven option for reducing the risk of influenza infection and severe illness for years now. This study expands the known benefits of the flu shot to include significant risk reduction of death and major adverse cardiovascular events in individuals with heart problems.

Not only is this important for those who have preexisting cardiovascular conditions and consistently receive the flu shot when appropriate, but it also provides extra incentive for those who have not traditionally opted to receive the influenza vaccine. The research should further encourage at-risk populations to get the flu shot and may be used as an effective resource for doctors when explaining the benefits to their unsure patients.

You can consult with one of our experienced cardiologists through a virtual visit or in person at one of our clinic locations. To schedule an appointment, call Peak Heart & Vascular or connect online to submit an appointment request. We have 10 locations across the valley and in Northern Arizona with clinics in Surprise, Avondale, Flagstaff, Prescott, Peoria, Sun City West, Laveen, and Phoenix, Arizona.

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Clinics

Peak Heart & Vascular – Prescott

Peak Heart & Vascular provides comprehensive services for cardiovascular care at our office in Prescott.  We are accepting new patients for in-person and virtual visits. Same-day cardiology, electrophysiology, and vascular appointments are available. Please call 602-698-7325 to schedule an appointment or request an appointment online.

  • Monday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Tuesday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Wednesday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Thursday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Saturday Closed
  • Sunday Closed
  • Free Parking
  • Free Wifi
  • Walk-in Services
  • Wheelchair Accessible
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Blog

Can COVID-19 Cause Cardiomyopathy?

There’s much we still need to learn about the impact of COVID-19 on your cardiovascular health, but one thing is certain: The virus can directly affect your heart. Medical experts currently estimate that 20-25% of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 develop heart muscle inflammation, a condition called myocarditis. Heart problems aren’t limited to people who were sick enough to go to the hospital. In one study, 78% of patients who recovered from COVID-19 had signs of ongoing heart inflammation, and two-thirds of them recovered at home. In other words, you might not have symptoms or experience mild to moderate illness due to COVID-19, but you’re still at risk for myocarditis. And myocarditis can lead to cardiomyopathy. Our team at Peak Heart & Vascular keeps up with the most current research about COVID-19 and heart disease. If you had, or currently have, COVID-19 and have any questions or concerns about your heart health, don’t hesitate to call — we’re here to help. Meanwhile, here’s what we know so far about COVID-19 and how it can lead to cardiomyopathy.

How COVID-19 causes heart damage

COVID-19 can cause myocarditis and cardiomyopathy through:

Inflammation

COVID-19 causes a body-wide inflammatory response. Inflammation normally helps your body fight infection, but COVID-19 triggers such an immense reaction that the extensive inflammation can lead to heart problems. Inflammation induced by COVID-19 causes myocarditis, but it can also affect the tissues surrounding your heart, causing a type of inflammatory disease called pericarditis. Inflammation also has the ability to disrupt the heart’s electrical system and cause arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats).

Direct heart injury

The COVID-19 virus can also directly attack your heart, a characteristic that sets it apart from other members of the coronavirus family. COVID-19 has a protein that attaches to and then enters heart cells. Once the virus is in cardiac cells, it damages them, causing scarring or cellular death.

Oxygen deprivation

As the virus infects your lungs, your body is deprived of oxygen. Acute respiratory distress is known to cause heart complications such as arrhythmias, reduced cardiac output, heart attack, and endocarditis. Endocarditis occurs when the inner lining of your heart becomes inflamed.

COVID-19 and cardiomyopathy

There are many possible causes of cardiomyopathy, including tissue damage and inflammation due to viral infections such as COVID-19. Even though COVID-19 is most often linked with myocarditis rather than cardiomyopathy, the fact is that myocarditis can cause cardiomyopathy. Up to 20% of patients who get myocarditis due to viral infections other than COVID-19 go on to develop chronic inflammatory cardiomyopathy. Though further research is needed to verify the overall impact of COVID-19, chances are it causes just as many, if not more, cases of cardiomyopathy as other viral infections.

Symptoms of myocarditis and cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy may cause an enlarged left ventricle, lead to thickened muscles in the left ventricle, or generally cause loss of elasticity, making the heart muscles rigid. All three types restrict the heart’s ability to pump oxygen-rich blood into your body. Since myocarditis causes inflamed heart muscles, this condition also reduces the heart’s pumping ability. And myocarditis often interrupts the heart’s built-in electrical system. Myocarditis and cardiomyopathy both cause symptoms such as:
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Shortness of breath (at rest and when you’re active)
  • Swelling in your legs, ankles, and/or feet (due to fluid retention)
  • Fast or abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
If you have cardiomyopathy, you may also experience dizziness, abdominal bloating, or a cough that occurs when lying down. If you develop any of these symptoms during or after your recovery from COVID-19, don’t wait to contact us for a complete heart evaluation. It doesn’t matter if you had asymptomatic, mild, or severe COVID-19, you’re at risk for ongoing heart problems. You may prevent serious complications with early treatment. You can consult with one of our experienced cardiologists through a virtual visit or in person at one of our clinic locations. To schedule an appointment, call Peak Heart & Vascular in Surprise, Avondale, Flagstaff, or Phoenix, Arizona, or connect online to submit an appointment request for an in-office or virtual visit.
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Clinics

Peak Heart & Vascular – Surprise (Bell Rd)

Peak Heart & Vascular provides comprehensive services for cardiovascular care at our office in Surprise (Bell Rd.).  We are accepting new patients for in-person and virtual visits. Same-day cardiology, electrophysiology, and vascular appointments are available. Please call 602-698-7325 to schedule an appointment or request an appointment online.

  • Monday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Tuesday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Wednesday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Thursday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Saturday Closed
  • Sunday Closed
  • Free Parking
  • Free Wifi
  • Walk-in Services
  • Wheelchair Accessible
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Clinics

Peak Heart & Vascular – Peoria

Peak Heart & Vascular provides comprehensive services for cardiovascular care at our office in Peoria. We are accepting new patients for in-person and virtual visits. Same-day cardiology, electrophysiology, and vascular appointments are available. Please call 602-698-7325 to schedule an appointment or request an appointment online.

  • Monday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Tuesday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Wednesday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Thursday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Saturday Closed
  • Sunday Closed
  • Free Parking
  • Free Wifi
  • Walk-in Services
  • Wheelchair Accessible
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Clinics

Peak Heart & Vascular – Sun City West

Peak Heart & Vascular provides comprehensive services for cardiovascular care at our office in Sun City West.  We are accepting new patients for in-person and virtual visits. Same-day cardiology, electrophysiology, and vascular appointments are available. Please call 602-698-7325 to schedule an appointment or request an appointment online.

  • Monday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Tuesday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Wednesday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Thursday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Saturday Closed
  • Sunday Closed
  • Free Parking
  • Free Wifi
  • Walk-in Services
  • Wheelchair Accessible
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Surgery Center

Peak Surgery Center – Surprise (Opening Soon)

At Peak Heart & Vascular, we are pioneers in outpatient surgery for cardiovascular conditions. Many procedures traditionally performed in a traditional hospital setting can be done in an outpatient surgery center with the same quality and safety. We are able to perform many cardiovascular procedures such as heart catheterization, stenting, ablation, vein ablations, pacemakers, and lower extremity revascularizations for PAD at Peak Surgery Center of Surprise. This center is expected to open soon.

  • Monday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Tuesday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Wednesday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Thursday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Saturday Closed
  • Sunday Closed
  • Free Parking
  • Free Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
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Clinics

Peak Heart & Vascular – Avondale

Peak Heart & Vascular provides comprehensive services for cardiovascular care at our office in Avondale.  We are accepting new patients for in-person and virtual visits. Same-day cardiology, electrophysiology, and vascular appointments are available. Please call 602-698-7325 to schedule an appointment or request an appointment online.

  • Monday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Tuesday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Wednesday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Thursday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Saturday Closed
  • Sunday Closed
  • Free Parking
  • Free Wifi
  • Walk-in Services
  • Wheelchair Accessible
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News

Peak Heart & Vascular opens Flagstaff office

 When Northern Arizona Healthcare purchased Mountain Heart in April, the healthcare organization became the sole provider of cardiology services in Flagstaff until just this month, when Peak Heart & Vascular opened its Flagstaff office.

The idea for the Phoenix-based provider’s expansion to northern Arizona was prompted by an existing local practice, Flagstaff Family Care Clinic, whose primary care providers were struggling with the lack of nearby cardiology options.

“We have 14 providers and they came to me and said, ‘We can’t get our patients in. We’ve got three-month waits. We’re having to send our patients to Phoenix to see a cardiologist even for an office visit because we could not get them in in a timely manner,’” said Cindy Wade, practice administrator of Flagstaff Family Care Clinic. “So my mission was to go invite a cardiologist team that could come to Flagstaff.”

 

Wade researched various providers, considering references and the cost and availability to the clinic’s patients in northern Arizona, when reaching out to offer a partnership to increase local access to cardiovascular care, starting with Flagstaff Family Care’s patients.

“Whenever there is a specialty void in a community, it always affects the primary care providers as well as the patient,” Wade said.

The two practices are separate businesses and are each open to their own patients, but are working together to increase local access to cardiovascular care, a collaboration that extends to Flagstaff’s existing cardiologists.

Doctor of Nursing Practice Megan Engbring, who used to work at NAH, said she does not see the two cardiology practices as competitors, but instead as allies in the effort to improve the health of the entire northern Arizona community.

Engbring has worked in cardiology in Flagstaff for seven years and was one of the first patients at Flagstaff Family Care when it opened in 2006. She also worked there in primary care before transitioning to cardiology. This connection helped to spark Peak Heart & Vascular’s new office, which is located just two suites over from the clinic’s spot in the Yale Plaza.

“What I loved about Cindy’s idea to bring more cardiology here is just to increase the capacity for cardiology services. There is the demand for it, the patients feel it just in the volume. It’s hard for any one group to service all of northern Arizona,” Engbring said, explaining that, historically, there were cardiology outreach clinics throughout the region.

 

A benefit of the pandemic, she said, has been the ability to reach some of these more remote patients through the expansion of telemedicine, one of Peak Heart & Vascular’s specialties.

The practice, which has a total of 10 providers, allows same-day appointments and offers diagnostic and therapeutic cardiology services, vascular surgery and endovascular treatments as well as electrophysiology for patients with cardiac rhythm disorders. Physicians take turns working out of the new Flagstaff office every Friday, but those who are not in town are available via telehealth. The other two Peak Heart & Vascular offices are located in Surprise and Avondale.

“Most cardiac diseases need immediate attention,” said Dr. Kishlay Anand, who specializes in general cardiology and cardiac electrophysiology. “If you have to wait six months or so, that doesn’t help. A lot of these people need quick attention and improved access to care is critical. … Just imagine if somebody was having chest pain and they’re asked to wait to see a doctor.”

Anand said, despite the practice’s recent move to Flagstaff, patient volume has been increasing quickly.

“Our goal is to bring high quality cardiovascular care that’s easy access to the Flagstaff community,” he said, noting the physician-owned practice’s desire to serve “a full spectrum in the community.”

So far, this includes patients from areas including Flagstaff, Williams, Winslow, Kingman, Sedona, the Verde Valley, Kayenta and Tuba City.

Flagstaff Family Care previously partnered with Mountain Heart before its sale, which was prompted by the retirement of cardiologist Dr. Kent Winkler, who owned the practice since it opened in 2008. The clinic has a similar partnership with a provider in Sedona to offer neurology services, which Wade said are also limited in Flagstaff for the practice’s patients.

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Clinics

Peak Heart & Vascular – Phoenix (Tatum Blvd)

Peak Heart & Vascular provides comprehensive services for cardiovascular care at our office in Phoenix (Tatum Blvd).  We are accepting new patients for in-person and virtual visits. Same-day cardiology, electrophysiology, and vascular appointments are available. Please call 602-698-7325 to schedule an appointment or request an appointment online.

  • Monday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Tuesday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Wednesday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Thursday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Saturday Closed
  • Sunday Closed
  • Free Parking
  • Free Wifi
  • Walk-in Services
  • Wheelchair Accessible
Categories
Clinics

Peak Heart & Vascular – Surprise (Bola Dr)

Peak Heart & Vascular provides comprehensive services for cardiovascular care at our office in Surprise (Bola Dr.). We are accepting new patients for in-person and virtual visits. Same-day cardiology, electrophysiology, and vascular appointments are available. Please call 602-698-7325 to schedule an appointment or request an appointment online.

  • Monday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Tuesday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Wednesday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Thursday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Saturday Closed
  • Sunday Closed
  • Free Parking
  • Free Wifi
  • Walk-in Services
  • Wheelchair Accessible