Preoperative n-3 polyunsatured fatty acids are associated with a decrease in the incidence of early atrial fibrillation following cardiac surgery

Giovanni Mariscalco, Simona Sarzi Braga, Maciej Banach, Paolo Borsani, Vito Domenico Bruno, Martha Napoleone, Cristina Vitale, Gabriele Piffaretti, Roberto F E Pedretti, Andrea Sala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Atrial fibrillation (AF) after cardiac surgery is associated with increased mortality, morbidity, and expenditure. Controversial data exist on possible preventive effects of n-3 polyunsatured fatty acids (PUFAs) against postoperative AF. We investigated whether preoperative PUFA therapy is effective in reducing AF after cardiac surgery during the surgical hospitalization and/or the cardiac rehabilitation period.

METHODS: Over a 4-year period, 530 patients (363 men, 68.5%) with a mean age of 66.4 +/- 10.9 years, undergoing cardiac surgery were monitored for ''early AF'' and ''late AF'' defined as AF documented in the surgical department or during the rehabilitation program, respectively.

RESULTS: The overall incidence of early AF in the whole study sample was 44.7%, whereas late AF occurred in 14.7% patients. Patients with AF had a longer length of hospital and rehabilitation stay (10.4 +/- 9.8 vs 9.5 +/- 9.2 days, P = .025 and 24.2 +/- 15.3 vs 21.1 +/- 8.3 days, P = .008, respectively). Early AF occurred in 31.0% of the patients with preoperative PUFAs compared with 47.3% of those without them (P = .006). Conversely, late AF was not influenced by preoperative PUFA regimen (11.9% vs 15.2%, P = .43). Preoperative PUFAs were independently associated with a 46% reduction in risk of early AF development (OR 0.54, 95% CI 0.31-0.92), after propensity score analysis.

CONCLUSION: Preoperative PUFA therapy is associated with a decreased incidence of early AF after cardiac surgery but not late AF. Patients undergoing cardiac surgery may benefit from a preventive PUFA approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-50
Number of pages8
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Preoperative Care
  • Young Adult
  • Journal Article

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Preoperative n-3 polyunsatured fatty acids are associated with a decrease in the incidence of early atrial fibrillation following cardiac surgery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this