Heart DiseaseOmega-3 Fatty Acids

Taking omega-3 after a heart attack

When added to optimal therapy, omega-3 didn’t improve long-term survival, according to the results of the “OMEGA-Trial” presented during the American College of Cardiology’s 58th Annual Scientific Sessions by researchers from the University of Heidelberg, in Germany.

First, the details.

  • 3,827 patients were randomly assigned to take to 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids daily or placebo starting 3 to 14 days after having a heart attack.
  • This treatment was given in addition to the best currently recommended care.

And, the results.

  • Triglyceride blood levels in the omega-3 fatty acid group were 121 vs 127 mg/dL with placebo.
  • The percentage of patients with triglycerides less than 150 mg/dL was slightly different between groups.
  • Death due to heart causes did not differ between the groups.

The bottom line?
The authors admit that the number of patients studied was not large enough to permit statistical analyses of the data.

So why did they bother with any of this?

Several other researchers have come to a different conclusion in the past year.

  • A review concluded that in patients with a prior heart attack, omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduced the risk of sudden cardiac death.
  • A large study in the US concluded, “Modest fish consumption was associated with a lower risk of total cardiovascular disease, consistent with cardiac mortality benefits.”
  • Another study concluded that omega-3 was significantly associated with a reduction in death due to any cause.

3/30/09 20:10 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.