An article published online on May 26, 2011 in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology reports the discovery of Polish researchers of a benefit for adding the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to standard therapy for heart disease patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (coronary angioplasty).
In a double-blinded trial, 54 men and women whose heart disease was stabilized after undergoing angioplasty with stent implantation were randomized to receive the antiplatelet drug clopidogrel along with omega-3 fatty acids (460 milligrams EPA plus 380 milligrams DHA) or a placebo, in addition to ongoing aspirin therapy. Blood samples were analyzed for clotting and other factors at the beginning of the study, upon discharge from the hospital three to five days after the procedure, and after one month on the regimens.
At the end of the four-week treatment period, participants who received omega-3 fatty acids had 15.3 percent greater plasma fibrin clot permeability (which indicates larger pores in the fibrin network), and a 14.3 percent reduction in the time needed for clots to break up compared to the placebo group. Those who received omega-3 also experienced a reduction in other clotting factors (with the exception of fibrinogen), and decreased plasma 8-isoprostaglandin F2-alpha, a marker of oxidative stress.
“The current study is the first to demonstrate that omega-3 PUFA added to standard dual antiplatelet therapy after percutaneous coronary intervention favorably alter plasma clot properties compared with placebo,” the authors announce. They add that “This is the first report to demonstrate that in patients with coronary artery disease receiving modern pharmacotherapy, omega-3 PUFA decrease 8-isoprostane formation during nonenzymatic arachidonic acid peroxidation in vivo which suggests that these agents may suppress oxidative stress-mediated adverse effects in coronary artery disease patients, including dense fibrin clot formation.”
“These findings indicate novel antithrombotic effects induced by omega-3 PUFA in humans,” they conclude.
June 17, 2011