Washington: Taking fish oil capsules may help improve outcomes for kidney patients undergoing hemodialysis by reducing cardiovascular complications, says a scientist at Lawson Health Research Institute.
Hemodialysis can be delivered through arteriovenous (AV) grafts, artificial vessels created to join an artery to a vein. Unfortunately, AV grafts are prone to congestion and clotting, causing disruptions to treatment and a need for surgical correction.
Research suggests fish oil could prevent AV grafts from clotting and reduce related cardiovascular events.
In a new multi-centre, randomized clinical trial, Dr. Louise Moist of Lawson Health Research Institute and her colleagues followed patients undergoing hemodialysis using new AV grafts for 12 months after creation.
Patients were assigned to daily doses of either four fish oil capsules, or four placebo capsules.
They found that those patients taking fish oil experienced a lower rate of graft failure, with half as many grafts lost to clotting.
The amount of time until clotting occurred increased, and fewer corrective interventions were required. In addition, those taking fish oil had lower blood pressure, and lower rates of heart attacks, heart failure and other cardiac-related events.
“This study provides very exciting results,” said Dr. Moist.
“Fish oil did not fix all the problems with grafts but it reduced the number of costly, time consuming procedures for patients already receiving a very burdensome treatment with dialysis. It is not often we have such encouraging results that benefit patients’ quality of life and reduce health care costs,” she noted.
Dr. Moist and her colleagues are now planning a second study focusing more intensely on blood pressure and cardiovascular events as related to fish oil.
She is hopeful these results could provide a safer way to avoid cardiovascular complications and extend the patency of the graft during hemodialysis.
The trial was led by Dr. Charmaine Lok at Toronto General Hospital, and funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Physicians Services Incorporated (PSI) Foundation.
Detail of the study will be released in the Journal of the American Medical Association.