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Circulation. 2011 Sep 6;124(10):1100-6. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.111.022194. Epub 2011 Aug 15.

n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the prevention of atrial fibrillation recurrences after electrical cardioversion: a prospective, randomized study.

Author information

1
Department of Experimental and Applied Medicine, Section of Cardiovascular Diseases, University of Brescia Medical School, P. le Spedali Civili, 1-25123 Brescia, Italy.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) exert antiarrhythmic effects and reduce sudden cardiac death. However, their role in the prevention of atrial fibrillation remains controversial. We aimed to determine the effect of n-3 PUFAs in addition to amiodarone and a renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitor on the maintenance of sinus rhythm after direct current cardioversion in patients with persistent atrial fibrillation.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-arm trial in patients with persistent atrial fibrillation, with at least 1 relapse after cardioversion, and treated with amiodarone and a renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitor. Participants were assigned to placebo or n-3 PUFAs 2 g/d and then underwent direct current cardioversion 4 weeks later. The primary end point was the probability of maintenance of sinus rhythm at 1 year after cardioversion. Of 254 screened patients, 199 were found to be eligible and randomized. At the 1-year follow up, the probability of maintenance of sinus rhythm was significantly higher in the n-3 PUFAs-treated patients compared with the placebo group (hazard ratio, 0.62 [95% confidence interval, 0.52 to 0.72] and 0.36 [95% confidence interval, 0.26 to 0.46], respectively; P=0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS:

In patients with persistent atrial fibrillation on amiodarone and a renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitor, the addition of n-3 PUFAs 2 g/d improves the probability of the maintenance of sinus rhythm after direct current cardioversion. Our data suggest that n-3 PUFAs may exert beneficial effects in the prevention of atrial fibrillation recurrence. Further studies are needed to confirm and expand our findings. Clinical Trial Registration- URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT01198275.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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