Fish oil supplements are associated with a significantly higher risk of atrial fibrillation (AF) in patients at increased cardiovascular risk. This is evident from a research report published online April 28 in the European Heart Journal: Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy.
Marco Lombardi, MD of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to identify randomized controlled trials in which omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on cardiovascular outcomes in participants with elevated triglycerides and either one was rated high risk for cardiovascular disease or with established cardiovascular disease.
Based on five included studies (50,277 patients), the researchers found that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation was associated with an increased risk of AF incidents compared to placebo (incident rate ratio, 1.37). The VITAL rhythm study was included in a sensitivity analysis, with the results confirming a higher risk of AF in the group that received supplementation compared to placebo (incident rate ratio, 1.29). Follow-up ranged from two to 7.4 years and the dose of fish oils varied between 0.84 g and 4 g per day.
“Although a clinical study indicated beneficial cardiovascular effects of supplementation, the risk of atrial fibrillation should be considered when prescribing or buying such agents over the counter, especially in those prone to developing an arrhythmia,” said a co-author in an explanation.
One author announced financial ties to the medical technology industry.
Abstract / full text
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