Omega-3 Fatty Acid Reduces Risk of Developing Atrial Fibrillation

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—At ACC.13, the American College of Cardiology's 62nd Annual Scientific Session, researchers presented that in post-cardiac surgery patients, omega-3 fatty acids (PUFA) therapy significantly reduces the risk of developing atrial fibrillation.

Prior published studies have reported conflicting results on the efficacy of PUFA in preventing atrial fibrillation in this population.  Mukesh Singh, MD, from Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, Chicago, IL, and team conducted a meta-analysis of the role of PUFA in the prevention of atrial fibrillation in post-cardiac surgery patients.

Dr. Singh and his team performed a systematic search to identify all relevant studies published in EMBASE, CINAHL, PubMed, and Cochrane database (until October 2012) that reported the effects of PUFA on the prevention of atrial fibrillation in post-cardiac surgery patients.

Eight studies were included in this meta-analysis.  A total of 2,687 patients with similar baseline characteristics were stratified into the PUFA therapy group (n=1,337) or placebo group (n=1,387).

Results showed that the use of PUFA significantly reduced the incidence of post-operative atrial fibrillation (odds ratio [OR] 0.75; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.57-0.99; P=0.04).  Upon sensitivity analysis, there was no statistically significant difference when stratified by study design or quality of the studies.

Dr. Singh concluded that in PUFA therapy greatly reduces the risk of developing atrial fibrillation in this specific post-surgery population.