Reduction of Inducible Arrhythmia in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease by Fish Oil

Presenter: Dr. R.G. Metcalf at the 2006 ISSFAL Meeting in Cairns, Australia

Institution: Rheumatology Unit, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia.

Dr. R. Metcalf presented highly original findings this morning on DHA/EPA Omega-3 fatty acids and cardiac arrhythmias from a recent pilot trial.

Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is any death from cardiac causes within one hour of the onset of symptoms. It is almost always due to arrhythmias known as ventricular tachycardia (VT) or ventricular fibrillation (VF).

Patients with heart disease either received a fish oil supplement providing 900 mg of omega-3 fatty acids (as DHA + EPA) each day for at least four weeks while others served as controls. All patients were subjected to arrhythmia testing by electrical impulses to induce sustained ventricular arrhythmias. After fish oil supplementation, 75% of the patients were either no longer inducible or required extra stimulation to induce the arrhythmia as compared to only 14% in the control group. Dr. Metcalf indicated that dietary supplementation with fish oil may reduce susceptibility to sustained ventricular arrhythmia by increased resistance to the initiation of arrhythmias or by increasing the propensity to spontaneous termination of arrhythmias when they do occur.

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