Home Original News Omega-3 fish oil improves patient survival 37%
Omega-3 fish oil improves patient survival 37% PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Roman Bystrianyk   
Sunday, 26 March 2006 00:00

Long-term use of omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to be beneficial in patients with heart disease and those with cancer. Newer evidence is now showing that omega-3’s can have beneficial effects in other areas such as fighting infection. 

A recent study in patients with acute respiratory syndrome showed improvement after only a few days of administration of omega-3 fatty acids. Other studies have shown the improved immune function in animals treated with omega-3 fatty acids against bacteria. One randomized study in patients after surgery found that patients treated with fish oil had less severe infections due to reduced immune suppression. They also had shorter stays in the ICU [Intensive Care Unit] and in the hospital. 

A study in the April issue of Critical Care Medicine, examines the effect of omega-3 fish oil on a large patient population. The study authors examined over 660 patients from 82 hospitals. The study included patients that had major abdominal surgery, sepsis (blood infection), trauma, head injury, and other conditions. The authors wanted to determine if survival, length of hospital stay, and antibiotic use would be affected. 

The authors found that giving fish oil to patients resulted in a “reduction in hospital mortality from 18.9% to 11.9%”, which is equal to a 37% reduced death rate. Use of fish oil was also associated with a significant decrease in length of stay in the ICU and in the hospital. The patient need for antibiotics was also reduced significantly in patients who were given fish oil.

The fish oil supplements were very well tolerated and there were “no adverse events in terms of bleeding complications.” 

The results of this study were in line with another study of 256 ICU patients scheduled for abdominal surgery. Those patients received 10 grams per day of fish oil. The group that received fish oil had reduced level of death, required ventilation after surgery less often, and their hospital stay was shorter. 

The authors conclude, “Supplementation with omega-3 FA [Fatty Acids] was associated with improved survival and accelerated patient recovery. These substantial effects were shown in different subpopulations to a variable extent. According to most recent recommendations, omega-3 FA may be a valuable nutritional additive to improve outcome in patients with peritonitis, trauma, abdominal systemic inflammatory response syndrome, and sepsis.”


Source: Critical Care Medicine, 2006, Vol. 34, No. 4
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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 September 2009 02:13