(n-3) fatty acid content of red blood cells does not predict risk of future cardiovascular events following an acute coronary syndrome

Hildegunn Aarsetoey, Volker Pönitz, Heidi Grundt, Harry Staines, William Harris, Dennis W T Nilsen

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33 Scopus citations


A reduced risk of fatal coronary artery disease has been associated with a high intake of (n-3) fatty acids (FA) and a direct cardioprotective effect by their incorporation into myocardial cells has been suggested. Based on these observations, the omega-3 index (eicosapentaenoic acid + docosahexaenoic acid in cell membranes of RBC expressed as percent of total FA) has been suggested as a new risk marker for cardiac death. In this study, our aim was to evaluate the omega-3 index as a prognostic risk marker following hospitalization with an acute coronary syndrome (ACS). The omega-3 index was measured at admission in 460 patients with an ACS as defined by Troponin-T (TnT) ≥0.02 μg/L. During a 2-y follow-up, recurrent myocardial infarctions (Ml) (defined as TnT ≥0.05 μg/L with a typical Ml presentation) and cardiac and all-cause mortality were registered. Cox regression analyses were used to relate the risk of new events to the quartiles of the omega-3 index at inclusion. After correction for age, sex, previous heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, smoking, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, brain natriuretic peptide, creatinine, total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, triacylglycerol, homocysteine, BMI, and medication, there was no significant reduction in risk for all-cause mortality, cardiac death, or Ml with increasing values of the index. In conclusion, we could not confirm the omega-3 index as a useful prognostic risk marker following an ACS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-513
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Medicine(all)

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