Omega-3 fatty acids reduce post-operative risk of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism after surgery for elderly patients with proximal femoral fractures: a randomized placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial

Int Orthop. 2020 Oct;44(10):2089-2093. doi: 10.1007/s00264-020-04610-0. Epub 2020 May 22.


Background: Elderly patients with proximal femoral fractures face elevated risk of post-operative deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, due to the lack of suitable treatment plans after surgery and hospital discharge. This study aimed to investigate the effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in the above-described clinical setting.

Methods: Five hundred and seven elderly patients (> 60 years of age) suffering from proximal femoral fractures were recruited. After exclusion, 452 eligible patients were assigned in a random manner to receive either omega-3 fatty acids at the daily dose of 1000 mg or placebo, via oral administration for a period of 30 days after surgery. At the end of intervention, the incidences of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, and other related complications were compared between the two study groups.

Results: Incidences of pulmonary embolism as well as deep vein thrombosis, including events leading to fatality, were significantly reduced by the 30-day omega-3 fatty acid intervention. But other related complications, such as haematoma evacuation, post-operative wound bleed, wound infection with frank pus, and other bleed events that required transfusion, were not affected after omega-3 fatty acid consumption.

Conclusion: Daily supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids decreases the risk of pulmonary embolism as well as symptomatic deep vein thrombosis, after surgery among elderly patients with proximal femoral fractures, without causing elevated risk of bleeding episodes.

Keywords: Deep vein thrombosis; Omega-3 fatty acids; Post-operative risk; Proximal femoral fractures; Pulmonary embolism.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3*
  • Femoral Fractures*
  • Hemorrhage
  • Humans
  • Pulmonary Embolism* / epidemiology
  • Pulmonary Embolism* / etiology
  • Pulmonary Embolism* / prevention & control
  • Venous Thrombosis* / epidemiology
  • Venous Thrombosis* / etiology
  • Venous Thrombosis* / prevention & control


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3