ESC: n-3 Fatty Acids May Not Be Beneficial for Ml Patients

Researchers find supplementation does not lower rate of adverse cardiovascular events
By Monica Smith
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- In individuals who have a history of myocardial infarction and are receiving state-of-the-art antithrombotic, antihypertensive, and lipid-modifying treatment, low-dose n-3 fatty acid supplementation does not appear to reduce the rate of major cardiovascular events, according to a study published online Aug. 29 in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with the European Society of Cardiology Congress, held from Aug. 28 to Sept. 1 in Stockholm, Sweden.

Daan Kromhout, Ph.D., of Wageningen University in the Netherlands, and colleagues randomly assigned 4,837 patients with a history of myocardial infarction to one of four margarines: one supplemented with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) -- with a targeted additional daily EPA-DHA intake of 400 mg; one with alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) -- with a targeted additional daily ALA intake of 2 g; one with DHA-EPA and ALA; or one with placebo. All patients were receiving state-of-the-art antithrombotic, antihypertensive, and lipid-modifying therapy.

The researchers found that neither EPA-DHA nor ALA supplementation appeared to significantly reduce the rate of major cardiovascular events, which occurred in 671 patients (13.9 percent) during the follow-up period. In a subgroup of women, ALA was associated with a near-significant reduction in the rate of major cardiovascular events compared with EPA-DHA alone and placebo (P = 0.07). The rates of adverse events were similar in the different groups.

"In conclusion, in this trial involving patients who had had a myocardial infarction and who were receiving good clinical care, low doses of n-3 fatty acids did not significantly reduce the rates of cardiovascular end points," the authors write.

The study was partly supported by Unilever R&D, which produced trial margarines and provided an unrestricted grant for the distribution of trial margarines to the patients.

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