Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Fish Oil or Snake Oil: Is There Antiarrhythmic Benefit?

Does fish oil supplement intervention truly reduce arrhythmia burden in the general population?

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC

Low-cost effect preventative antiarrhythmic therapy

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC

Low cost wearable, internet-connected devices make it possible to inexpensively collect heart rate and physiometric data from a large number of people to determine and predict arrhythmia risk.
Observational studies have suggested that either cardiac arrest or sudden death is associated with low dietary intake and blood levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids and that a fish diet or dietary supplementation with polyunsaturated fatty acids (the GISSI-Prevenzione study) decrease mortality and/or sudden death following myocardial infarction. However, NHLBI-supported and other randomized, double blind studies of the antiarrhythmic efficacy of fish oil supplements in patients with a high arrhythmic risk and implantable cardioverter defibrillators have failed to demonstrate benefit. Similarly, fish oil supplements in patients at risk for atrial fibrillation (AF) have shown no benefit. Yet evidence from studies in laboratory animals continue to suggest that omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil provide benefits that should be antiarrhythmic. These and other fundamental research studies in isolated tissues and laboratory animals continue to lead to uncertainty as to whether patients with cardiac arrhythmias may benefit from fish oil supplements.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea NHLBI Staff

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Idea No. 345