Cardiovascular System


, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp S187-S189

First online:

n-3 fatty acids in the prevention of cardiac arrhythmias

  • Alexander LeafAffiliated withDepartment of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • , Jing X. KangAffiliated withDepartment of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • , Yong-Fu XiaoAffiliated withDepartment of Medicine Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School
  • , George E. BillmanAffiliated withDepartment of Physiology, The Ohio State University

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In animals and probably in humans n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are antiarrhythmic. A report follows on the recent studies of the antiarrhythmic actions of PUFA. The PUFA stabilize the electrical activity of isolated cardiac myocytes by inhibiting sarcolemmal ion channels, so that a stronger electrical stimulus is required to elicit an action potential and the relative refractory period is markedly prolonged. This appears at present to be the probable major antiarrhythmic mechanism of PUFA.