A new meta-analysis published in Clinical Nutrition found that cardiac surgery patients who received omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (compared to placebo) in advance of surgery experienced reduced postoperative cardiac arrhythmias and significantly reduced the length of hospital stay by up to 2.4 days.
The results are based on 11 randomized controlled trials with 1,038 patients, according to omega-3 supportive trade group GOED.
“Omega-3s are well known for their benefits on cardiovascular health, including a reduced risk of arrhythmias and reduced mortality in patients with recent myocardial infarction or cardiac failure,” said co-author Dr. Pascal L. Langlois from Sherbrooke University. “Furthermore, they exhibit interesting anti-inflammatory properties and modulate the immune system.”
The study implies a reduction in hospital utilization and overall healthcare costs, and supports an existing body of research demonstrating the heart health benefits of omega-3s.
The reduced length of hospital stay in this study was likely associated with the tendency of the omega-3 group to experience a reduction in postoperative atrial fibrillation, according to the authors. The exact mechanism associated with this benefit is unknown, but it is widely believed to be due to the omega-3s’ anti-inflammatory and anti-arrhythmic properties.
GOED is a 501(c) not-for profit trade association with stated goals to increase consumption of omega-3s to adequate levels around the world and to ensure that the industry is producing quality omega-3 products.