Fish Oil Protects the Heart After PCI

blood flow and blocked arteriesPercutaneous coronary intervention or PCI is a procedure that opens narrowed or blocked arteries. Some patients with severe coronary artery disease and reduced left ventricular ejection fraction may be candidates for Protected PCI, a PCI procedure using a miniature heart pump called the Impella 2.5.

A study found that people who were given omega-3 fatty acids 12 hours before their PCI procedure had lower levels of a heart biomarker after the PCI procedure. The only difference between the two groups was the addition of the 600 mg of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and 1200 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in a single fish oil pill. DHA and EPA are the primary omega-3 fatty acids needed for the body to function—especially for the immune system and the brain.

The heart biomarker studied was creatine kinase, an enzyme secreted by the heart that can indicate heart damage. Measurement of creatine kinase is routine after PCI procedures. Lower levels of creatine kinase indicate little or no heart damage after PCI.

Taking care of your heart is of utmost importance to your health. One way to protect your heart may be to eat omega-3 fatty acids or take a fish oil supplement. Previous studies have shown omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of heart problems by preventing plaques from forming in arteries called atherosclerosis and improving blood flow. They have also been shown to interfere with the inflammatory response and act as anti-inflammatory agents.

This fish oil study was the first to show an effect of omega-3 fatty acids on creatine kinase. The fact that a single dose of fish oil can decrease creatine kinase suggests that the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on the immune system may be important in the development of cardiovascular disease.

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