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
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
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
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