Low levels of EPA and DHA significantly associated with sudden death and heart attack in patients with coronary heart disease according to an analysis of 25 related studies

May 22, 2007

Coronary heart disease (CHD) occurs when a build up of plaque in the blood vessels supplying the heart muscle reduce blood flow to the heart. These patients frequently suffer with angina pectoris or chest pain radiating down the left arm due to a failure to keep up with the demand for an increased blood supply to the heart during exertion. CHD is the most common cause of death for men and women over the age of 65 and the disease is also the most common cause of sudden death in different age groups. CHD leads to ventricular arrhythmias which cause cardiac arrest (sudden cessation of the heart and circulation), sudden death, heart attacks, and people with CHD have a higher risk of suffering with a stroke. In this large analysis of twenty-five studies, scientists at Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota, crunched data on the levels of a person?s DHA, either with or without EPA and the risk of events caused by CHD. In all studies, being low in DHA, or being low in DHA + EPA (the healthy fats found in fish oils) was associated with CHD events including sudden death, heart attack. Having low levels of these Omega-3 fatty acids was consistently and significantly associated with CHD events, heart attack, cardiac arrest, and sudden death. The study is published in the May 14th, 2007 issue of the Irish journal Atherosclerosis.