Omega-3 fatty acids combined with two blood-thinning drugs would help avoid blood clots and chances of heart attack among people with coronary artery disease.
Researchers tested some participants who were given the pill form of omega-3 (1,000 milligrams n-3 PUFA daily) and were encouraged to increase their consumption of oily fish.
They evaluated the effects of omega-3 in patients with stable coronary artery disease who had their clogged heart arteries opened by a catheter procedure and a stent inserted to help keep the vessels opened.
Researchers then randomly selected 24 patients as controls and 30 for treatment before their heart procedures. Both groups received the same daily doses of aspirin and clopidogrel for four weeks after stenting.
The treatment group received 1,000 milligrams of omega-3 daily and the controls received a placebo each day.
The result showed that the omega-3 treated patients produced less of a clotting factor called thrombin. In addition, they also formed clots with an altered and favorable structure, including larger pores that made them easier to disrupt.
Therefore, the clot-destruction time was 14.3 pc shorter. This might prove important in protecting patients, especially those with drug-eluting stents who occasionally develop potentially fatal late clots.
"Our study suggests that combined moderate anti-thrombotic and anti-platelet actions of omega-3, when added to those of other treatments, may improve outcomes for coronary artery disease patients," said Grzegorz Gajos, lead author and assistant professor of cardiology at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland.
The study appears in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology: Journal of the American Heart Association.