The omega-3 supplementation also reduced post-operative cardiac complications such as experiencing an irregular heartbeat.
The findings imply that increasing the intake of omega-3s result in reduction in hospital utilisation and overall healthcare costs, adding to existing evidence that points to the supplement’s anti-inflammatory and anti-arrhythmic properties.
A meta-analysis, published in Clinical Nutrition, focused on 11 RCT's with 1038 patients. No effect of omega-3 PUFA on the primary outcome - length of stay (LOS) in the intensive care unit (ICU) - was found.
The changes were found in the secondary outcomes - LOS and postoperative atrial fibrillation (POAF) incidence. No effects were found on mortality or MV duration.
"Omega-3s are well known for their benefits on cardiovascular health, including a reduced risk of arrhythmias and reduced mortality in patients with recent myocardial infarction or cardiac failure," said co-author Dr Pascal Langlois from Sherbrooke University.
"Furthermore, they exhibit interesting anti-inflammatory properties and modulate the immune system."
However, other studies have found that pre-operative omega-3-PUFA could be a promising strategy to control the responses to cardiac surgery.
“The reduced length of hospital stay in this study was associated with the tendency of the omega-3 group to experience a reduction in postoperative atrial fibrillation,” said the study’s authors.
“The exact mechanism associated with this benefit is unknown, but it is widely believed to be due to the omega-3s' anti-inflammatory and anti-arrhythmic properties."
Source: Clinical Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2016.05.013
“Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in cardiac surgery patients: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis.”
Authors: Pascal Langlois, Gil Hardy, William Manzanares