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Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2018 Jan 30:1-12. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2018.1434126. [Epub ahead of print]

Atrial fibrillation and its complications in arterial hypertension: The potential preventive role of ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.

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a Division of Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine , University of Udine , Udine , Italy.


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common type of arrhythmia in the general population with a prevalence that reaches one third of patients with arterial hypertension. Several risk factors frequently associated with hypertension predispose the myocardium to AF by inducing atrial inflammation and fibrosis and altering atrial electrical and mechanical characteristics. AF influences the quality of life of hypertensive patients since it increases incidence of stroke and other thromboembolic events, and mortality. Polyunsaturated fatty acids of the ω-3 family (ω-3 PUFA) have been demonstrated to be beneficial in cardiovascular disease prevention by reducing plasma lipids and blood pressure levels and decreasing the risk of sudden death. These fatty acids can act as potent anti-inflammatory and anti-arrhythmic agents. Many studies have investigated a possible preventive effect of ω-3 PUFA on incident AF reporting contradictory results. This article overviews the evidence currently available on this important topic and provides some conclusive remarks on the possibility that these fatty acids could be beneficial in hypertensive patients.


Atrial fibrillation; cardiovascular disease; docosahexaenoic acid; eicosapentaenoic acid; hypertension; omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids

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