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Journal of the American Heart Association

Clinical Articles, News & Views

N‐3 PUFAs do not prevent AF

Published clinical trials do not support n‐3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n‐3 PUFAs) as agents aimed at preventing either postoperative or recurrent atrial fibrillation (AF), according to a study1 published recently in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Electronic searches were conducted in Web of Science, Medline, Biological Abstracts, Journal Citation Reports, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials databases. In addition, data from the recently completed FORωARD and OPERA trials were included.

Researchers included randomised controlled trials comparing treatment with n‐3 PUFAs versus control to (1) prevent recurrent AF in patients who underwent reversion of AF or (2) prevent incident postoperative AF after cardiac surgery. Of identified studies, 12.9% (16 of 124) were included, providing data on 4,677 patients.

Eight studies (1,990 patients) evaluated n‐3 PUFA effects on AF recurrence among patients with reverted AF and 8 trials (2,687 patients) on postoperative AF. Pooled risk ratios through random‐effects models showed no significant effects on AF recurrence or on postoperative AF.

A funnel plot suggested publication bias among postoperative trials but not among persistent AF trials. Meta‐regression analysis did not find any relationship between doses and effects (p=0.887 and 0.833 for recurrent and postoperative AF, respectively).


1. Mariani J, Doval HC, Nul D, et al. N‐3 polyunsaturated fatty acids to prevent atrial fibrillation: updated systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Am Heart Assoc 2013;2:e005033​JAHA.112.005033

Published on: February 28, 2013

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    None Found


  • ArrhythmiaAlliance
  • Stars
  • Anticoagulation Europe
  • Atrial Fibrillation Association

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