The Omega-3 Fatty Acid Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) Correlates Inversely with Ischemic Brain Infarcts in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation Journal Articles uri icon

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  • The omega-3 fatty acid (n-3 FA) eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) reduces stroke in patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Whether EPA affects stroke or cerebral small vessel dis-ease in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) remains uncertain. EPA, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) were determined by gas chromatography in 1657 AF patients from the Swiss Atrial Fibrillation study. All patients underwent brain MRI to detect ischemic brain infarcts, classified as large noncortical or cortical infarcts (LNCCIs); markers of small vessel disease, classified as small noncortical infarcts (SNCIs), number of microbleeds, and white matter lesion (WML) volumes. Individual and total n-3 FAs (EPA + DHA + DPA + ALA) were correlated with LNCCIs and SNCIs using logistic regression, with numbers of microbleeds using a hurdle model, and WML volumes using linear regression. LNCCIs were detected in 372 patients (22.5%). EPA correlated inversely with the prevalence of LNCCIs (odds ratio [OR] 0.51 per increase of 1 percentage point EPA, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.29–0.90). DPA correlated with a higher LNCCI prevalence (OR 2.48, 95%CI 1.49–4.13). No associations with LNCCIs were found for DHA, ALA, and total n-3 FAs. Neither individual nor total n-3 FAs correlated with markers of small vessel disease. In conclusion, EPA correlates inversely with the prevalence of ischemic brain infarcts, but not with markers of small vessel disease in patients with AF.


  • Reiner, Martin F
  • Baumgartner, Philipp
  • Wiencierz, Andrea
  • Coslovsky, Michael
  • Bonetti, Nicole R
  • Filipovic, Mark G
  • Montrasio, Giulia
  • Aeschbacher, Stefanie
  • Rodondi, Nicolas
  • Baretella, Oliver
  • Kühne, Michael
  • Moschovitis, Giorgio
  • Meyre, Pascal
  • Bonati, Leo H
  • Lüscher, Thomas F
  • Camici, Giovanni G
  • Osswald, Stefan
  • Conen, David
  • Beer, Jürg H

publication date

  • February 17, 2021