The American Heart Association (AHA) recently released a science advisory on supplementation with eicosapentaenoic acid plus docosahexaenoic acid (omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids) for the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The statement updates prior recommendations from the AHA that were released in 2002 and are based on evidence from randomized controlled trials (RTCs) that examined the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on clinical cardiovascular events. They offer recommendations for patients with prevalent CHD, those with diabetes and prediabetes, and those at high risk for CVD, stroke, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation (AF), when data was available.
Among the recommendations:
• Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids was not indicated for the prevention of CVD in patients with diabetes and was not indicated for prevention of CHD in patients
with a high CVD risk.
• Treatment is not indicated for secondary prevention of AF in patients with prior AF or for prevention of AF following cardiac surgery.
• Treatment with omega-3 fatty acids for secondary prevention of CHD and sudden cardiac death in patients with prevalent CHD and for secondary prevention of outcomes
in patients with heart failure were considered reasonable.
“Because there are no reported RTCs related to the primary prevention of CHD, heart failure, and AF, we were not able to make recommendations for these indications,” the researchers concluded.
“We look forward to future reports that address the gaps in evidence that we documented. As findings from ongoing RTCs are reported, we will assess the need to further update this advisory.”
Siscovick DS, Barringer TA, Fretts AM, et al. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (fish oil) supplementation and the prevention of clinical cardiovascular disease: a science advisory from the American Heart Association [published online March 13, 2017]. Circulation. doi:https://doi.org/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000482.