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Am Heart J. 1988 Sep;116(3):709-17.

Dietary fish oil prevents ventricular fibrillation following coronary artery occlusion and reperfusion.

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C.S.I.R.O. Division of Human Nutrition, Glenthorne Laboratory,SA, Australia.


Coronary artery occlusion and reperfusion in the anesthetized rat was used as a whole animal model of arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death to examine the influence of long-term dietary lipid modulation of myocardial membrane fatty acids on the development of cardiac arrhythmias. Feeding rats a diet supplemented with tuna fish oil significantly reduced the incidence and severity of arrhythmias, preventing ventricular fibrillation during both occlusion and reperfusion. Dietary sunflower seed oil reduced arrhythmias during occlusion but not in reperfusion. Dietary fat can modify the vulnerability of the myocardium to arrhythmic stimuli. The efficacy of tuna fish oil in reducing vulnerability to both ischemic and reperfusion arrhythmias suggests a potential beneficial effect of dietary n-3 fatty acids in addition to their influence on hemostasis, plasma lipids, and atherosclerosis that may contribute to their proposed role in lowering cardiovascular disease mortality and morbidity.

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