“What About Flu Shots for Heart Surgery Patients?” asks Cheryl
By Adam Pick on October 21, 2019
I just received a timely and important question from Cheryl about flu shots and heart surgery. In her email, Cheryl asked me, “Hi Adam – Can I get a flu shot, varicella and pneumococcal vaccines just 6 weeks after mitral valve replacement using a pig tissue valve?”
As the seasons are shifting quickly, I wanted to get Cheryl an expert response. For that reason, I reached out to Dr. Marc Gillinov, the Chairman of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic.
As you may know, Dr. Gillinov is a heart valve guru, co-author of Heart 411 and a wonderful supporter of HeartValveSurgery.com. Over the years, Dr. Gillinov and his team at the Cleveland Clinic has successfully treated many patients from our community including Pam Hascall, Tee Adler and Emily Rothrock. You can see over 70 patient testimonials for Dr. Gillinov here.
Dr. Gillinov Says…
Within minutes of sending Dr. Gillinov an email with Cheryl’s question, I was excited to see my inbox light-up with his response. First, Dr. Gillinov addressed why vaccines – especially the flu vaccine – are so important for all people this time of year:
Vaccines protect us and those around us from a wide variety of contagious illnesses. At this time of year, the flu vaccine is most important. Virtually everybody should get a flu shot—it is your best protection against the flu.
Next, Dr. Gillinov addressed the timing of getting vaccines for patients who have undergone heart valve replacement or heart valve repair procedures.
Getting vaccines applies to those who have had heart valve surgery, as well. The flu vaccine will in no way affect your heart valve repair or replacement, and it may very well prevent you from getting the flu.
I hope this helped you learn more about flu vaccines, their importance and timing vaccinations after heart surgery. Many thanks to Cheryl for her question. Plus, a special thanks goes out to Dr. Marc Gillinov for sharing his research and clinical experiences with our community!
- HeartValveSurgery.com: See 70+ Patient Reviews for Dr. Marc Gillinov
- CDC: Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccines
- Medical News Today: Scientists Getting Close to Universal Flu Vaccine?
Keep on tickin!