(HealthDay News) – Perioperative supplementation with long chain n-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3-PUFAs) does not reduce postoperative atrial fibrillation or flutter (AF), compared with placebo.

Dariush Mozaffarian, MD DrPH, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues analyzed data from 1,516 patients scheduled for cardiac surgery in 28 centers in the United States, Italy, and Argentina. Patients participating in the Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Prevention of Postoperative Atrial Fibrillation trial were randomized to receive fish oil (1g capsules containing at least 840mg n-3-PUFAs as ethyl esters) or placebo, with loading of 10g over three to five days preoperatively followed by 2g/day postoperatively until hospital discharge or postoperative Day 10.

The researchers found that postoperative AF lasting longer than 30 seconds occurred in 30.7%of patients assigned to placebo and 30% assigned to n-3-PUFAs (odds ratio, 0.96; P=0.74). There were no significant differences between the placebo and fish oil groups for any measures of AF, hospital utilization, bleeding, 30-day mortality, or major adverse cardiovascular events.

“In this large multinational trial among patients undergoing cardiac surgery, perioperative supplementation with n-3-PUFAs, compared with placebo, did not reduce the risk of postoperative AF,” the authors write.

The study was supported by GlaxoSmithKline, Sigma Tau, and Pronova BioPharma, which also provided the study drug.

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