At UHN, we strive to deliver Compassionate Care & Caring. Learn more about the services and supports that are available to you throughout your journey.
Our UHN programs and services are among the most advanced in the world. We have grouped our physicians,
staff, services and resources into 10 medical programs to meet the needs of our patients and help us make
the most of our resources.
At the heart of everything we do at UHN are our Healthcare Professionals. Refer a patient to one of our 12 medical programs. Learn more about the resources and opportunities available for professional growth.
University Health Network has grown to be one of the largest research and teaching hospital networks in Canada - pioneers in improving the lives of patients. Our long history of health professions education at Toronto General, Toronto Western, Princess Margaret and Toronto Rehab hospitals has consistently advanced the science of education.
University Health Network is a health care and medical research organization in
Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The scope of research and complexity of cases at UHN has made us a national and international
source for discovery, education and patient care.
Being touched by illness affects us in different ways. Many people want to give back to the community
and help others. At UHN, we welcome your contribution and offer different ways you can help so you can find one that suits you.
The Newsroom is the source for media looking for information about UHN or trying to connect with one
of our experts for an interview. It's also the place to find UHN media policies and catch up on our news stories, videos, media releases,
podcasts and more.
A team of Ontario researchers has provided the most definitive evidence to date that having the flu increases a person's risk for a heart attack.
The study was recently published in
The New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most respected medical journals.
The flu is an infectious disease caused by a virus that attacks the tissues in your nose, throat and lungs. By infecting these tissues, the flu produces a variety of symptoms including a headache, sore throat and a runny nose. In some people, the infection can also cause more serious problems.
"For many years, researchers have suspected that the flu can trigger heart attacks," explains
Dr. Jeff Kwong, a family physician at Toronto Western Hospital and a Senior Scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES).
"In the 1930s, researchers first noticed that more people die of heart attacks during flu season. Since then, researchers have been trying to establish whether having the flu puts a person at a greater risk of having a heart attack; however, proving this has been difficult given that most people who display flu-like symptoms aren't tested to confirm they are infected by the flu virus."
To address this, Dr. Kwong and his colleagues leveraged a powerful resource: the extensive health information for over 13 million Ontarians available through ICES. By examining ICES data combined with flu test results from Public Health Ontario and academic hospitals, the researchers found nearly 20,000 flu cases that were confirmed by laboratory tests between 2009 and 2014.
Among these cases, the researchers identified 332 patients who had a heart attack within one year of their flu diagnosis. They discovered individuals were six times more likely to have a heart attack during the first week of being diagnosed with the flu.
"Our findings provide the best evidence yet that the flu can trigger heart attacks. Importantly, they support international guidelines that advocate for immunizing adults over the age of 65 against the flu to protect them from heart attacks," says Dr. Kwong.
This work was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Public Health Ontario and ICES, which receives funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.