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Thromb Haemost. 2010 Oct;104(4):664-80. doi: 10.1160/TH10-01-0008. Epub 2010 Aug 30.

Exploring newer cardioprotective strategies: ω-3 fatty acids in perspective.

Author information

  • 1Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, Federico II University, Naples, Italy. dario.diminno@hotmail.it

Abstract

In the 1980s, observational retrospective studies showed an inverse relation between coronary heart disease (CHD) and consumption of fish containing fatty acids that belong to the omega (ω)-3 family. Large case-control studies and prospective intervention trials consistently showed that ω-3 fatty acids supplementation lowers fatal myocardial infarction (MI) and sudden cardiac death. By analysing the strengths of the results of individual studies and how the meta-analyses agree with them, putting together relevant backgrounds, and identifying open questions, the following findings/directions emerge. (i) Dietary and non-dietary intake of ω-3 fatty acids reduces overall mortality, mortality due to MI, and sudden death in patients with CHD; (ii) Fish oil consumption directly or indirectly affects cardiac electrophysiology. Fish oil reduces heart rate, a major risk factor for sudden death; (iii) Among patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators, ω-3 fatty acids do not reduce the risk of ventricular tachycardia/ventricular fibrillation and may actually be pro-arrhythmic; (iv) The consumption of ω-3 fatty acids leads to a 10-33% net decrease of triglyceride levels. The effect is dose-dependent, larger in studies with higher mean baseline triglyceride levels, and consistent in different populations (healthy people, people with dyslipidaemia, diabetes, or known cardiovascular risk factors); (v) Outcomes for which a small beneficial effect ω-3 fatty acids is found include blood pressure (about 2 mmHg reduction), re-stenosis rates after coronary angioplasty (14% reduction), and exercise tolerance testing. Major experimental data provide strength (biological plausibility) for these findings, and define directions for newer clinical trials with ω-3 fatty acids.

PMID:
20806105
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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