Omega-3 Supplements Don't Increase Surgical Blood Loss

For patients taking n-3FA, no difference in peri-op blood loss during spinal fusion procedures

FRIDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Omega-3 fatty acid (n-3FA) supplements do not correlate with higher perioperative blood loss during spinal fusion procedures, according to a study published in the December issue of the European Spine Journal.

Dennis S. Meredith, M.D., from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, and colleagues retrospectively examined the effect of n-3FA supplementation on bleeding in all one- or two-level posterolateral lumbar decompression/fusions, with or without interbody fusion, conducted by five surgeons over three years. Twenty-eight patients taking n-3FA supplements were matched (1:2) with controls, after exclusion of patients with abnormal coagulation parameters, bleeding disorders, or taking other medications. Supplements were stopped an average of 5.2 days before surgery.

The researchers observed no significant differences in the mean estimated blood loss or the mean transfused volume of Cell Saver between the n-3FA group and the control group. The groups were also similar with respect to secondary outcomes, including drop in postoperative hemoglobin, requirement for transfusion, complications, and surgical drain output.

"Ultimately, the value of this study is that it does not demonstrate a safety issue that would prevent future studies designed to assess the risk/benefit ratio of n-3FA supplements during spinal surgery," the authors write.

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