Omega-3 fatty acids may restrict further damage after heart attack

A new study has revealed that omega-3 fatty acids may help restrict further damage after a heart attack, suggesting this therapy may provide added benefits to standard care.

Washington: A new study has revealed that omega-3 fatty acids may help restrict further damage after a heart attack, suggesting this therapy may provide added benefits to standard care.

As per the American College of Cardiology study, taking omega-3 fatty acids appeared to lower inflammation and guard against further declines in heart function among recent heart attack survivors already receiving optimal standard care.

Patients in the study taking 4 grams of prescription-only omega-3 fatty acid capsules daily for six months after a heart attack were significantly more likely to show improvements in heart function compared to patients taking a placebo.

Heart function was measured by an expansion of the left ventricular endsystolic volume index. Patients taking omega-3 fatty acids also had significantly less evidence of fibrosis, a thickening or scarring of the areas of the heart remote from the heart attack, which can develop when the surviving heart muscle works harder and under high pressure to compensate for the damage to the heart.

The data suggests that patients who were able to mount a substantial change in levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood derived the most benefit.

Senior author Raymond W. Kwong said that because this is a unique group of patients with remarkably high adherence to guideline-directed treatments for acute myocardial infarction already, they feel fairly confident that the benefits from this therapy are additive. The implications of this study could be fairly large.

Kwong said his research is the first to use quantitative cardiac imaging to look at how omega-3 fatty acids might actually protect the heart after a major heart attack.

Kwong added that the higher-dose omega-3 fatty acids was not found to be associated with any major safety issues, such as increased bleeding. It's a very well-tolerated therapy and it is unlikely patients could get the amount of omega-3 fatty acids from diet alone. He said the daily 4 gram dose is roughly equivalent to someone eating a large, 8-ounce serving of salmon every day for six months.

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