Atrial protective effects of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: A long-term study in ovine chronic heart failure

Dennis H. Lau, Peter J. Psaltis, Angelo Carbone, Darren J. Kelly, Lorraine MacKenzie, Michael Worthington, Robert G. Metcalf, Pawel Kuklik, Adam J. Nelson, Yuan Zhang, Christopher X. Wong, Anthony G. Brooks, David A. Saint, Michael J. James, James Edwards, Glenn D. Young, Stephen G. Worthley, Prashanthan Sanders

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25 Citations (Scopus)


Background: It has been suggested that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) may prevent the development of atrial fibrillation (AF). Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of these agents on development of the AF substrate in heart failure (HF). Methods: In this study, HF was induced by intracoronary doxorubicin infusions. Twenty-one sheep [7 with n-3 PUFAs treated HF (HF-PUFA), 7 with olive oiltreated HF controls (HF-CTL), 7 controls (CTL)] were studied. Open chest electrophysiologic study was performed with assessment of biatrial effective refractory period (ERP) and conduction. Cardiac function was monitored by magnetic resonance imaging. Atrial n-3 PUFAs levels were quantified using chromatography. Structural analysis was also performed. Results: Atrial n-3 PUFAs levels were twofold to threefold higher in the HF-PUFA group. n-3 PUFAs prevented the development of HF-related left atrial enlargement (P = .001) but not left ventricular/atrial dysfunction. Atrial ERP was significantly lower in the HF-PUFA group (P <.001), but ERP heterogeneity was unchanged. In addition, n-3 PUFAs suppressed atrial conduction abnormalities seen in HF of prolonged P-wave duration (P = .01) and slowed (P <.001) and heterogeneous (P <.05) conduction. The duration of induced AF episodes in HF-PUFA was shorter (P = .02), although AF inducibility was unaltered (P = NS). A 20% reduction of atrial interstitial fibrosis was seen in the HF-PUFA group (P <.05). Conclusion: In this ovine HF study, chronic n-3 PUFAs use protected against adverse atrial remodeling by preventing atrial enlargement, fibrosis, and conduction abnormalities leading to shorter AF episodes despite lower ERP. Crown

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-582
Number of pages8
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Apr 2011


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid
  • Remodeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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