Serum long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and risk of hospital diagnosis of atrial fibrillation in men.

Research Institute of Public Health, School of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, University of Kuopio, Kuopio, Finland.
Circulation (Impact Factor: 14.95). 11/2009; 120(23):2315-21. DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.852657
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common cardiac arrhythmia. Regular fish consumption has been shown to reduce the risk of AF in some but not all studies. Long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) from fish have been suggested to account for these beneficial effects. We tested this hypothesis by studying the association between the serum long-chain n-3 PUFAs eicosapentaenoic acid, docosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid and risk of AF in men.
A total of 2174 men from the prospective population-based Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, 42 to 60 years old and free of AF at baseline in 1984 to 1989, were studied. During the average follow-up time of 17.7 years, 240 AF events occurred. In the Cox proportional hazards model, the multivariable-adjusted hazard ratio in the highest (>5.33%) versus the lowest (<3.61%) quartile of eicosapentaenoic acid plus docosapentaenoic acid plus docosahexaenoic acid was 0.65 (95% confidence interval 0.44 to 0.96, P for trend=0.07). Evaluated individually, only serum docosahexaenoic acid was associated with the risk of AF (hazard ratio in the highest versus the lowest quartile 0.62, 95% confidence interval 0.42 to 0.92, P for trend=0.02). Exclusion of subjects (n=233) with myocardial infarction or congestive heart failure either at baseline or that preceded the AF event during follow-up slightly strengthened the associations. Serum intermediate chain-length n-3 PUFA, alpha-linolenic acid, or hair methylmercury concentration were not associated with the risk.
An increased concentration of long-chain n-3 PUFAs in serum, a marker of fish or fish oil consumption, may protect against AF. Serum docosahexaenoic acid concentration had the greatest impact.

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