Scientists have determined that
adding omega-3 fatty acids to a daily supplementation routine may help
better the survival rates of heart failure patients and help less
admissions to hospital emergency rooms, especially those with chronic
Previous research has indicated that omega-3
fatty acids from deep sea fish oils can perform a crucial role in heart
and circulatory health. However, there have evidently not been any
large-scale trials that looked at how effective omega-3 fatty acids
could be in helping to prevent heart failure. As a result, scientists
decided to conduct a study as to whether omega-3 fatty acids could help
improve mortality rates in a sizeable number of patients with
symptomatic heart failure caused for any reason.
In the randomized, double-blind,
placebo-controlled research study, scientists gave 3,494 patients, with
chronic heart failure of the New York Heart Association class
II–IV, 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids on a daily basis. The second group
contained 3,481 people that received only a placebo. All patients were
followed up for a medium of approximately 3.9 years.
During the trial, 955 (27 percent) of the
patients died from any cause in the omega-3 group and 1,014 (29
percent) in the placebo group. In the omega-3 group, 1,981 (57 percent)
patients died or were admitted to a hospital for cardiovascular reasons
compared to 2,053 (59 percent) in the placebo group. In heart failure
patients assigned to receive omega-3s, this amounted to a 9 percent
relative reduction in mortality rates, and an 8 percent relative
reduction in hospital admissions for cardiovascular reasons compared to
subjects taking the placebo.1,2
The researchers concluded, “A simple and safe
treatment with n-3 PUFA [omega-3 fatty acids] can provide a small
beneficial advantage in terms of mortality and admission to a hospital
for cardiovascular reasons in patients with heart failure.”1, 2
1. Authors listed as GISSI-HF investigators.
Effect of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in patients with chronic
heart failure (the GISSI-HF trial): a randomised, double-blind,
placebo-controlled trial. The Lancet. Published online ahead of print.
August 31, 2008.