News Flash > Cardiovascular Health

 

Omega 3s: Good For Patients With Stents?

Reported June 1, 2011


(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Omega-3 fatty acids, combined with two blood-thinning drugs, significantly changed the blood-clotting process and may reduce the risk of heart attacks in patients with stents in their heart arteries, according to a new study.

Foods rich in omega-3, such as salmon and other oily fish, have been previously shown in other studies to reduce the risk of heart problems in people with coronary artery disease. The new study shows, the participants were given the pill form of omega-3 (1,000 milligrams n-3 PUFA daily) and were encouraged to increase their consumption of oily fish.

The study sought to determine what effects omega-3 might add to those of aspirin and clopidogrel.
The research team particularly targeted the protein fibrin and the interlaced structure it forms in coagulated blood.

Grzegorz Gajos, M.D., Ph.D., lead author and assistant professor of cardiology at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland and colleagues examined findings from 54 patients (41 men, 13 women, average age 62.8 years) who participated in the trial conducted at John Paul II Hospital in Krakow.
This study evaluated the effects of omega-3 in patients with stable coronary artery disease who had their clogged heart arteries opened by a catheter procedure and a stent successfully inserted to help keep the vessels opened. Previously, the researchers had reported that adding omega-3 to the clopidogrel antiplatelet drug after stenting significantly lowered the platelet response in clotting.

The study showed that, in comparison with the control group, the omega-3 treated patients produced less of a clotting factor called thrombin; formed clots with an altered and favorable structure including larger pores that made them easier to disrupt. Therefore the clot-destruction time was 14.3 percent shorter. This might prove important in protecting patients, especially those with drug-eluting stents who occasionally develop potentially fatal late clots; had less oxidative stress; showed no significant changes in fibrinogen and clotting factor (II, XIII) levels. Fibrinogen is a protein produced by the liver. This protein helps stop bleeding by helping the formation of blood clots.

"Our study suggests that combined moderate anti-thrombotic and anti-platelet actions of omega-3, when added to those of other treatments, may improve outcomes for coronary artery disease patients," Gajos said.
"We are planning a larger follow-up study that will include outcomes and continue indefinitely," Gajos said.


SOURCE: Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology: Journal of the American Heart Association, published online May 26, 2011