Background: The effects of omega-3 fatty acids on membrane stabilization are well known. Reduction of ventricular arrhythmias and sudden death has been reported; fewer data exist regarding the effects on atrial arrhythmias. The object of this report is to evaluate the reduction of atrial arrhythmia-fibrillation after treatment with omega-3, in patients with dual-chamber pacemakers.
Methods: We have examined 40 patients with paroxysmal atrial tachyarrhythmia recorded at the periodic pacemaker controls. At the study entry, all patients were treated with omega-3 (1 g/die); no changes in the device programmation and in the previous pharmacological therapy were allowed. The devices were interrogated after 4 months of treatment to evaluate the number of episodes and the burden of atrial tachyarrhythmia. At this time, the treatment was discontinued and the patients were reevaluated 4 months later.
Results: Two patients discontinued the treatment complaining of adverse gastroentheric effects. The episodes of atrial tachyarrhythmia in the pre-treatment period resulted 444 +/- 1161, and the burden 3.89% of time; in the treatment period resulted respectively 181 +/- 436 (-59%, p = 0.037) and 1.06% (-67%, p = 0.029). After drug withdrawal, the episodes of atrial tachyarrhythmia raised to 552 +/- 1717 (p = 0.065) and the burden to 2.69% (p = 0.003).
Conclusions: Our data suggest a powerful effect of omega-3 fatty acids in the reduction of atrial tachyarrhythmia-fibrillation in these patients, without significant adverse effects.