(HealthDay News) — Omega-3 fatty acids (FAs) are associated with lower cardiovascular mortality and improved cardiovascular outcomes, according to a review published online in eClinicalMedicine.

Safi U. Khan, MBBS, from West Virginia University in Morgantown, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to determine the effectiveness of omega-3 FAs on fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular outcomes. The meta-analysis included 38 randomized controlled trials (149,051 participants) of omega-3 FAs, stratified by eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) monotherapy and EPA + docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) therapy.

The researchers found that omega-3 FA intake was associated with reductions in cardiovascular mortality (rate ratio [RR], 0.93), nonfatal myocardial infarction (MI; RR, 0.87), coronary heart disease (CHD) events (RR, 0.91), major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE; RR, 0.95), and revascularization (RR, 0.91). EPA monotherapy was associated with higher risk reductions than EPA + DHA for cardiovascular mortality, nonfatal MI, CHD events, MACE, and revascularization. However, omega-3 FA increased incident atrial fibrillation (RR, 1.26), while EPA monotherapy was associated with a higher risk for total bleeding (RR, 1.49) and atrial fibrillation (RR, 1.35) compared with control.

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“This study provides evidence regarding the therapeutic efficacy of omega-3 FAs and may explain the conflicting results between EPA monotherapy trials and those with EPA + DHA,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

Abstract/Full Text