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Effects of fish oil supplementation on cardiac function in chronic heart failure: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials


Context The effects of fish oil on cardiac function, ventricular remodelling and functional capacity in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) remain controversial.

Objective The aim of this meta-analysis was to evaluate effects of fish oil on cardiac function and related parameters in CHF patients.

Data Sources Medline, Embase, the Cochrane Library and references cited in related reviews and studies.

Study Selection Randomised controlled trials of fish oil supplementation on cardiac function in patients with CHF were identified.

Data Extraction Two investigators read all papers and extracted all relevant information. A fixed effect or, in the presence of heterogeneity, a random effect model, was used to estimate the combined effects.

Results 7 trials with 825 participants were included. Meta-analysis results showed that left ventricular ejection fraction was significantly increased (weighted mean difference (WMD) = 2.25%, 95% CI 0.66 to 3.83, p = 0.005) and left ventricular end-systolic volume was significantly decreased (WMD = 7.85 ml, 95% CI −15.57 to −0.12, p = 0.05) in the fish oil group compared with the placebo group, although left ventricular end-diastolic volume was not significantly affected. Meta-regression and subgroup analysis indicated that the improvement in left ventricular systolic function was more remarkable in patients with nonischaemic heart failure. Fish oil supplementation also improved the New York Heart Association functional classification and peak oxygen consumption in patients with non-ischaemic heart failure.

Conclusions Improvement in cardiac function, remodelling and functional capacity may be important mechanisms underlying the potential therapeutic role of fish oil for patients with CHF. These effects might be more remarkable in patients with non-ischaemic heart failure.

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