Renal transplant recipients may benefit from marine n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in terms of reduced overall and cardiovascular mortality risk, according to a new study.

Ivar A. Eide, MD, of Oslo University Hospital in Norway, and colleagues conducted an observational cohort study of 1,990 Norwegian recipients of a renal transplant. The investigators measured the marine n-3 PUFA levels in plasma phospholipids using gas chromatography 10 weeks after transplantation. Of the 1,990 patients, 406 (20.4%) died during a median follow-up period of 6.8 years.

Compared with patients in the bottom quartile of PUFA level, those in the top quartile had a significant 67% and 88% lower risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, respectively, in a fully adjusted model. Dr. Eide’s team reported online ahead of print in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. In addition, patients in the top quartile had a significant 93% lower risk of sudden cardiac death and a significant 92% lower risk of stroke-related death.

Continue Reading

The study had a number of strengths, the most important of which, according to the investigators, was the use of gas chromatography to measure individual plasma phospholipid fatty acids, “which in contrast to dietary questionnaires, correlates very well with actual marine n-3 PUFA intake.” Study limitations include a lack of dietary data to adjust for the full matrix of nutrients and the fact that the researchers performed only a single measurement of plasma phospholipid marine n-3 PUFAs.