Effects of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on post surgical atrial fibrillation: A prospective randomised study [ 2006 - 2008 ]

Also known as: Dietary fish oil and post surgical atrial fibrillation

Research Grant

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Researchers: Prof Michael James (Principal investigator) ,  A/Pr Glenn Young Dr Robert Metcalf Mr James Edwards Prof Prashanthan Sanders
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Brief description Consumption of fish and fish oil has been associated with protective effects for deaths from heart disease in many studies. The effects are consistent and quite strong and appear to be unrelated to blood cholesterol levels. The effects are more likely due to the possibility that fish oil, which contains n-3 fats, can suppress abnormal heart rhythms which can cause 'sudden cardiac death'. This has been shown in animal studies, and recently we have shown that they can also suppress abnormal heart rhythms in humans. Patients undergoing coronary bypass surgery are particularly susceptible to abnormal heart rhythms in the upper chambers of the heart in the days immediately following surgery. While these abnormal rhythms are rarely life threatening, they can result in increased post-surgical complications and a longer hospital stay with associated increased costs to the health system. In this study we will determine whether providing high dose fish oil for 3 weeks immediately preceding coronary bypass surgery, will result in a reduction in the proportion of patients experiencing post-surgical abnormal heart rhythms. We will also examine the effects of n-3 fats on the incidence of other complications following bypass surgery and also the length of hospital stay. In addition, we will gather data which will provide insight into the mechanisms by which n-3 fatty acids produce their well documented benefits to patients with cardiovascular disease. The significance of this study is its ability to provide a protective strategy in heart disease in which the mechanism is understood, which is effective, and importantly, which will have the potential to provide savings to the health care system through a reduction in hospital stay.

Funding Amount $AUD 536,529.35

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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