The prognostic utility of dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA) in patients with acute coronary heart disease

Dennis W.T. Nilsen, Hildegunn Aarsetoey, Volker Pönitz, Trygve Brugger-Andersen, Harry Staines, William Harris, Heidi Grundt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Background: We previously investigated the prognostic utility of red blood cell (RBC) n-3 fatty acids (FAs) in survivors of an acute myocardial syndrome (ACS) but found no relationship with all-cause mortality and cardiac death or MI after two years. Here we extend our follow-up to 7. years, focusing on the potential predictive power of RBC n-6 FAs. Methods: We included 398 ACS patients presenting with increased troponin-T (TnT) levels for whom baseline RBC FA data were available. Cox regression analysis was used to relate the risk of future events to RBC n-6 FA levels, both continuously and by quartile. Results: At 7-year follow-up, 183 (46.0%) had died, 128 (32.2%) had experienced another MI and 24 (6.0%) had had a stroke. Death or MI occurred in 227 patients (57.0%); and death, MI or stroke in 235 patients (59.0%). In a multivariable Cox regression model for total death, the hazard ratio (HR) in the highest as compared to the lowest quartile of dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (DGLA) was 0.55 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.35-0.88, p = 0.012, for death or MI [HR 0.62 (95% CI, 0.41-0.94), p = 0.025], and for the fully combined endpoint [HR 0.57 (95% CI, 0.38-0.86), p = 0.006]. Similar results were found in the per 1-SD analysis. No other RBC n-6 FAs significantly predicted these outcomes in multivariable models. Conclusion: RBC DGLA levels had significant independent prognostic value in post-ACS patients. These findings need confirmation, and the possible biochemical pathways by which higher DGLA membrane levels may be cardioprotective should be explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2017
Externally publishedYes



  • Acute coronary syndrome (ACS)
  • Dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA)
  • Myocardial infarction (MI)
  • Prognosis
  • Stroke
  • Total mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Cite this

Nilsen, D. W. T., Aarsetoey, H., Pönitz, V., Brugger-Andersen, T., Staines, H., Harris, W., & Grundt, H. (Accepted/In press). The prognostic utility of dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA) in patients with acute coronary heart disease. International Journal of Cardiology.