Omega 3 supplementation associated with reduced length of hospital stay in heart surgery patients

Pascal L. Langlois of Sherbrooke University Hospital in Québec and colleagues selected 19 randomized clinical trials that included a total of 4,335 patients for their analysis. Supplements included varying combinations of the omega 3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), with or without other nutrients.

Analysis of trials that had adequate data concerning length of hospital stay found a 1.37 day reduction in association with omega 3 fatty acid supplementation. Postoperative atrial fibrillation, which is a known risk following cardiac surgery, was determined to be 22% lower in omega 3 supplemented patients.

"Systemic inflammation due to ischemia-reperfusion, oxidative stress and, when extra-corporeal circulation is used, blood contact with nonendothelial surfaces, is a key feature in patients after cardiac surgery," the authors observe. "In this context, the administration of omega 3 PUFA as a pharmaconutrient strategy represents a promising and attractive therapeutic option."

"This updated systematic review and meta-analysis demonstrates that omega 3 PUFA administered to patients undergoing cardiac surgery may be able to significantly reduce hospital length of stay and the incidence of postoperative atrial fibrillation," they conclude. "Large-scale and well-designed randomized clinical trials, which should be aimed at confirming our observations, are warranted."