Influenza virus and atherosclerosis

A. Peretz, M. Azrad, A. Blum

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Influenza viruses infect the upper respiratory system, causing usually a self-limited disease with mild respiratory symptoms. Acute lung injury, pulmonary microvascular leakage and cardiovascular collapse may occur in severe cases, usually in the elderly or in immunocompromised patients. Acute lung injury is a syndrome associated with pulmonary oedema, hypoxaemia and respiratory failure. Influenza virus primarily binds to the epithelium, interfering with the epithelial sodium channel function. However, the main clinical devastating effects are caused by endothelial dysfunction, thought to be the main mechanism leading to pulmonary oedema, respiratory failure and cardiovascular collapse. A significant association was found between influenza infection and acute myocardial infarction (AMI). The incidence of admission due to AMI during an acute viral infection was six times as high during the 7 days after laboratory confirmation of influenza infection as during the control interval (10-fold in influenza B, 5-fold in influenza A, 3.5-fold in respiratory syncytial virus and 2.7-fold for all other viruses). Our review will focus on the mechanisms responsible for endothelial dysfunction during influenza infection leading to cardiovascular collapse and death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-755
Number of pages7
JournalQJM - Monthly Journal of the Association of Physicians
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019

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© 2019 The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Association of Physicians. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email:


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