The Mechanism of Action of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Secondary Prevention Post-Myocardial Infarction

Nigel Harrison; Brihad Abhyankar


Curr Med Res Opin. 2005;21(1):95-100. 

In This Article

Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Heart Rate Variability (HRV)

Low or decreased HRV has been associated with increased morbidity and mortality in epidemiological studies.[24] HRV appears to be an independent predictor of risk for sudden death and all-cause mortality in post-MI patients.[25] An association between low HRV and clinical coronary events has also been reported in patients with stable CHD (42% of whom had had a previous MI).[26]

It is of particular relevance that a decrease in HRV has been closely associated with an increased risk of sudden death in many studies including apparently healthy subjects.[27,28] Increases in HRV due to omega-3 fatty acids are thus likely to be of clinical relevance as an explanation for the reduction in primary cardiac arrest in individuals who have a high intake of omega-3 fatty acids.[9,11] Christensen et al. demonstrated the antiarrhythmogenic potential of omega-3 fatty acids in a group of 55 MI survivors,[29] reporting that 12 weeks of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation was associated with a small but statistically significant decrease in ventricular ectopic activity. In studies indirectly related to HRV, both Sellmayer et al .[30] and Christensen and co-workers[31,32] reported large and consistent reductions in ventricular premature contractions in patients who received omega-3 fatty acid supplementation.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.
Post as: