Special Report for Those on Heart Drugs

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Combining omega-3 fatty acids with blood-thinning drugs may reduce the risk of heart attacks in patients with heart disease. Good sources of omega-3s.Here’s some health news worth taking note of: omega-3 fatty acids could help patients with stents avoid blood clots, reducing the risk for a life-threatening heart attack. Other research has suggested that foods rich in omega-3s, including fatty fish such as salmon, help reduce the risk of heart problems in those with existing coronary artery disease. This latest study is a health breakthrough; however, as it suggests, omega-3s were found to specifically help those with stents.

A stent is a small tube placed in a coronary artery to keep it open and to allow the normal flow of blood and oxygen to the heart. But if a blood clot forms at the stent site, it can block blood flow and result in a possible heart attack.

Polish researchers investigated the ability of omega-3s to help patients with stents in a recent clinical trial. The research team studied 54 patients, on average about 63 years old. They all had their clogged arteries opened by a catheter procedure and then had stents inserted to keep the vessels open.

All were on standard medical therapy. Twenty-four patients were randomly assigned to receive a placebo pill daily and 30 patients received 1,000 milligrams of omega-3s (EPA and DHA) in pill form daily.

The researchers found that those who took the omega-3 fatty acids had clots that were easier to break up. They also found that, in general, there was decreased clot formation after the treatment compared to the placebo group. The researchers noted that not only did patients taking omega-3s produce less of the clot-promoting  protein thrombin, but also their clots had larger pores, which explained why the clots were easier to break up. Clot break-up time in those patients was also 14.3% shorter than in the patients taking placebo pills.

The researchers concluded that giving omega-3 fatty acids to patients who are stable after stent placement could improve health outcomes.

So, take this health advice: omega-3 fatty acids are good for your cardiovascular system — no matter what shape your heart happens to be in. Add some fish oil supplements, especially if you have a stent.