Heart 97:1034-1040 doi:10.1136/hrt.2010.215350
  • Systematic review

Prevention of atrial fibrillation with omega-3 fatty acids: a meta-analysis of randomised clinical trials

  1. Sanjay Kaul1
  1. 1The Heart Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, USA
  2. 2Department of Cardiology, Tianjin Institute of Cardiology, Second Hospital of Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin, People's Republic of China
  3. 3Department of Cardiology, University Hospital of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sanjay Kaul, Division of Cardiology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 8700 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA; kaul{at}
  • Accepted 16 December 2010
  • Published Online First 8 April 2011


Context Previous randomised controlled trials (RCT) regarding n-3 PUFA supplementation for atrial fibrillation (AF) prevention have yielded conflicting results.

Objective A systematic review and meta-analysis of RCT was conducted to examine the role of n-3 PUFA in AF prevention.

Data Sources MEDLINE, Web of Science and Cochrane clinical trials database were searched until November 2010.

Study Selection Of 127 initially identified studies, 10 RCT with 1955 patients were finally analysed.

Data Extraction Two blinded reviewers extracted data independently to a predefined form. Disagreements were resolved through discussion and consensus.

Results n-3 PUFA had no significant effect on the prevention of AF (OR 0.81, 95% CI 0.57 to 1.15; p=0.24). There was significant heterogeneity among the studies (p=0.002, I2=65.0%). Subgroup analysis showed no significant beneficial effect of fish oils in any subset of population.

Conclusions No significant effects of n-3 PUFA supplementation on AF prevention were observed in this meta-analysis. A large-scale trial with higher doses and longer follow-up might be required to rule out the possibility of any treatment benefit.


  • See Editorial, p 1032

  • Linked articles 221507.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.