Omega-3 fatty acids good for heart attack patients

Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil have some anti-inflammatory properties which allows the heart to contract better and reduces the fibrosis in the undamaged muscle, a new study has revealed.

According to the study, published in the journal Circulation, giving heart attack patients a high dose of omega-3 fatty acids daily for six months after a heart attack can improve its functioning.

A previous study found that omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil were associated with improved survival for heart attack patients but the role of omega-3 fatty acids in improving the structure and tissue of the heart in patients receiving current guideline-based therapy after a heart attack was unknown.

The study involved 360 heart attack survivors, half were given a high dose omega-3 fatty acids and half placebo, beginning within a month of the heart attack. Because the study participants were given high doses of omega-3s in addition to their other medications, patients were under a physician’s care and observed for any potential adverse outcomes.

The researchers found that compared to those taking a placebo, patients taking a dose of 4 grams of omega-3 fatty acids daily for six months experienced a 5.8 per cent reduction in left ventricular end-systolic volume index and had a 5.6 per cent reduction in a measurement of scarred connective tissue (fibrosis) formation in the non-damaged heart muscle.

“Heart failure is still a major problem after a heart attack despite all the therapy we have and the advances in interventional care. Our findings show that omega-3 fatty acids are a safe and effective treatment in improving cardiac remodelling, so it may be promising in reducing the incidence of heart failure or death,” said Raymond Y. Kwong, Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School.