Long-term fish consumption and n-3 fatty acid intake in relation to (sudden) coronary heart disease death: the Zutphen study

Eur Heart J. 2008 Aug;29(16):2024-30. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehn294. Epub 2008 Jul 18.


Aims: To assess the relationship between fish consumption or eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)+docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) intake from fish, and (sudden) coronary death.

Methods and results: The impact of recent and long-term fish consumption and EPA+DHA intake on (sudden) coronary death was investigated in the Zutphen Study, a cohort of 1373 men born between 1900 and 1920, and examined repeatedly between 1960 and 2000. Hazard ratios were obtained from time-dependent Cox regression models. The associations between long-term fish consumption, EPA+DHA intake, and (sudden) coronary death were stronger than those of recent consumption. Long-term fish consumption was inversely associated (borderline significant) with coronary heart disease (CHD) death; however, the strength of the association decreased from age 50 [HR: 0.32 (95% CI: 0.13-0.80)] until age 80 [HR: 1.34 (0.58-3.12)]. For men with a daily EPA+DHA intake from fish below 250 mg compared with no intake, CHD death risk was reduced to the same extent as for men with a daily intake above 250 mg (P-value for trend: 0.27). Moreover, long-term fatty-fish consumption lowered the risk of sudden coronary death [HR: 0.46 (0.27-0.78)].

Conclusion: The strength of the association between long-term fish consumption and CHD death decreased with increasing age. Fatty-fish consumption lowered sudden coronary death risk. There was no clear dose-response relationship between EPA+DHA intake and (sudden) coronary death.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / mortality
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / prevention & control*
  • Coronary Disease / mortality
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control*
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / prevention & control*
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Fishes
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models


  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid