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

Nigel Harrison; Brihad Abhyankar

Disclosures

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.

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