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Fish Oil Has Anti-Arrhythmic Effects in High-Risk Patients

Reduces risk in coronary artery disease patients at risk of sudden cardiac death

WEDNESDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) -- Fats present in fish oil can have an anti-arrhythmic effect in patients with coronary artery disease at risk of sudden cardiac death, according to a report in the March 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Robert G. Metcalf, Ph.D., and colleagues from Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia, treated 12 patients with coronary artery disease undergoing defibrillator implantation with 3 g/day of encapsulated fish oil for approximately six weeks, then examined the inducibility of ventricular tachycardia. Fourteen similar patients who did not consume fish oil were used as controls.

The researchers found that in the fish oil group, more patients had no inducible ventricular tachycardia (42 versus 7 percent), more required more aggressive stimulation to induce ventricular tachycardia (42 versus 36 percent), fewer patients required identical stimulation (8 versus 36 percent), and fewer patients required less stimulation (8 versus 21 percent). Overall, the fish oil group had more non-inducible or less inducible ventricular tachycardia.

"In conclusion, dietary n-3 fatty acid supplementation decreased the inducibility of ventricular tachycardia in patients at risk of sudden cardiac death," Metcalf and colleagues conclude. "These findings suggest that dietary fish oil can have an anti-arrhythmic effect."

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