, Volume 2, Issue 5, pp 445-451

The Gruppo Italiano per lo Studio della Sopravvivenza nell’infarto miocardio (GISSI)-Prevenzione trial on fish oil and vitamin E supplementation in myocardial infarction survivors

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Abstract

A recent large-scale, open-label, randomized, controlled trial in 11,324 myocardial infarction (MI) survivors has shown low-dose fish oil, but not vitamin E, to reduce significantly the cumulative rate of all-cause death, nonfatal MI, and nonfatal stroke. Neither intervention significantly reduced the other primary endpoint, the cumulate rate of cardiovascular death, nonfatal MI, and nonfatal stroke. Analysis of secondary endpoints indicated that the benefits of the 875 mg fish oil capsules containing 850 to 882 mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) as ethyl esters was in reducing mortality and not in a reduction of nonfatal MI. It was a safe intervention. The internal validity and external validity of the data was examined and the findings placed in clinical perspective. Important questions remain about the benefits of increased plant sources of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) for those who cannot obtain or consume fish. Also the benefits of diet versus fish oil supplementation haven’t been determined precisely. Although it seems reasonable to increase sources of n-3 PUFA in the diet for those at high risk of coronary heart disease, current data do not support a policy of promoting fish oil capsules for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease.