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Omega-3 Fatty Acids Reduce Heart Failure Mortality

But rosuvastatin does not appear to affect chronic heart failure outcomes

MONDAY, Sept. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have beneficial effects on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality while treatment with rosuvastatin does not affect clinical outcomes in patients with chronic heart failure, according to two studies published online Aug. 31 in The Lancet and also presented at the European Society of Cardiology Meeting held Aug. 30 to Sept. 3 in Munich, Germany.

In the first study, Luigi Tavazzi, M.D., from GVM Hospitals of Care and Research in Cotignola, Italy, and colleagues randomly assigned 6,975 patients with chronic heart failure to 1 g/day omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids or placebo. After a median of 3.9 years, they found that fewer patients receiving omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids died (27 versus 29 percent, adjusted hazard ratio 0.91) and fewer died or were hospitalized for cardiovascular reasons (57 versus 59 percent, adjusted hazard ratio 0.92). Treating 56 patients for a median of 3.9 years would avoid one death, or treating 44 patients would avoid one death or hospitalization.

In the second study, the same authors reviewed data from the same 357 cardiology sites in Italy, looking at rosuvastatin's effects in patients with heart failure. The percentage of patients who died from any cause or cardiovascular causes were similar between those on rosuvastatin and placebo, as the numbers of patients admitted to the hospital for cardiovascular causes.

"For omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, benefits observed in other populations apply to patients with heart failure," writes the author of an accompanying editorial. "For statins, the benefits, unfortunately, seem not to. Although other promising treatments for heart failure are under investigation, every effort should be made apply those therapies which are evidence-based to all eligible patients with heart failure."

The studies were partly funded by Pfizer, Sigma Tau and AstraZeneca, and the editorialist has financial relationships with several pharmaceutical companies.

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