Fish oil fails to hold off heart arrhythmia | Science News

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Fish oil fails to hold off heart arrhythmia

Atrial fibrillation patients who took the capsules had about as many episodes as those on placebo

9:38am, November 16, 2010

CHICAGO — Fish oil, which has shown signs of benefit for the heart, doesn’t seem to help people with atrial fibrillation, the most common type of heart arrhythmia, researchers reported November 15 at a meeting of the American Heart Association.

Atrial fibrillation is a form of heart arrhythmia in which scrambled electrical impulses cause heart muscles to contract abnormally. Diets high in fish have been associated with protection against heart attacks and heart failure, and the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil had been shown in some studies, but not others, to benefit irregular heartbeat.

In the new study, researchers randomly assigned 527 people with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation to get either high-dose fish oil or a placebo capsule. In these patients, an irregular heart rhythm crops up periodically but returns to normal on its own, said study coauthor Peter Kowey, a cardiologist at the Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood, Penn. Despite the irregular heart

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