RRML - The Omega-3 Index and The Risk for Sudden Death

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Concept, Design & Programming
Dr. Adrian Man

Nr. 9(4)/2007

The Omega-3 Index and The Risk for Sudden Death

Cristina Goga, Dan Dobreanu


Cardiac societies recommend the intake of 1 g/day of the two omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic (EPA) acid and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for cardiovascular disease prevention, prevention of sudden cardiac death, treatment after a myocardial infarction and secondary prevention of cardiovascular diseases. These recommendations are the result of an impressive amount of scientific evidence from epidemiologic and large-scale intervention studies. Animal studies have established the complex mechanism for the benefic effects of omega-3 fatty acids. Dietary omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of sudden death by stabilizing the myocardium electrically, resulting in a reduced susceptibility to ventricular arrhythmias. Omega-3 fatty acids also have potent anti-inflammatory effects, antithrombotic and anti-atherogenic. Low level of omega-3 fatty acids is an important risk factor for sudden death.Therefore it is important to establish a biomarker for risk assessment and treatment monitoring. The omega-3 Index might be considered a new risk factor for sudden death. It is measured in red blood cells and expressed in percentage of EPA+DHA of total fatty acids. It correlates well with the level of EPA and ADH in the myocardic tissue and it has a long half-life, thus reflecting the omega-3 status of an individual (analogous to HbA1c reflecting glucose homeostasis). An omega-3 index of >8% is associated with a 90% less risk for sudden death. Moreover, the omega-3 index fulfills all criteria for being considered a risk factor. As a risk factor for sudden death it has striking similarities to LDL-cholesterol as a risk factor for coronary arterial disease, thus omega-3 index may serve as a treatment goal.

Keywords: sudden cardiac death,omega-3 Index,eicosapentaenoic acid,docosahexaenoic acid

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How to cite
Goga C, Dobreanu D. The Omega-3 Index and The Risk for Sudden Death. Rev Romana Med Lab. 2007;9(4):7-16