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Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2019 Jun 24;18(1):84. doi: 10.1186/s12933-019-0887-0.

Cardiovascular, electrophysiologic, and hematologic effects of omega-3 fatty acids beyond reducing hypertriglyceridemia: as it pertains to the recently published REDUCE-IT trial.

Author information

1
Cardiology Division, University Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 7403 Wurzbach Road, San Antonio, TX, 78229, USA. sheikho@uthscsa.edu.
2
Cardiology Division, Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, TX, USA.
3
Cardiology Division, University of Massachusetts Medical School-Baystate, Springfield, MA, USA.
4
Cardiology Division, University Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 7403 Wurzbach Road, San Antonio, TX, 78229, USA.

Abstract

Heart disease continues to affect health outcomes globally, accounting for a quarter of all deaths in the United States. Despite the improvement in the development and implementation of guideline-directed medical therapy, the risk of adverse cardiac events remains substantially high. Historically, it has been debated whether omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids provide clinical benefit in cardiac disease. The recently published REDUCE-IT trial demonstrated a statistically significant absolute risk reduction of 4.8% in its primary endpoint (cardiovascular death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, nonfatal stroke, coronary revascularization, or unstable angina) with the use of icosapent ethyl, which is a highly purified eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) ethyl ester. However, the mechanism of action of omega-3 fatty acids is not commonly discussed. Moreover, the use of EPA was not without risk, as the incidence of atrial fibrillation was increased along with a trend towards increased bleeding risk. Thus, our aim is to help explain the function of purified EPA ethyl ester, especially at the molecular level, which will ultimately lead to a better understanding of their clinically observable effects.

KEYWORDS:

Diabetes mellitus; Hyperlipidemia; Hypertriglyceridemia; Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids

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