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The effect of omega-3 fatty-acid supplements on perioperative bleeding following posterior spinal arthrodesis

An Erratum to this article was published on 26 June 2012



To investigate the effect of omega-3 fatty-acid supplements (n-3FA) on bleeding during posterior spinal arthrodesis.


We reviewed all one- or two-level posterolateral lumbar decompression/fusions with or without interbody fusion by five surgeons within 3 years. Patients taking n-3FA preoperatively were matched 1:2 with controls based on procedure, surgeon and operative time. Patients with abnormal coagulation parameters, known bleeding disorders or other medications that could affect surgical blood loss were excluded.


Twenty-eight patients met inclusion criteria. The n-3FA and control groups were similar with respect to gender, age, body mass index, operative time, and preoperative use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The n-3FAs were stopped an average of 5.2 days before surgery (range 1–10). Mean estimated blood loss (EBL) was 697 ml in the n-3FA group and 771 ml in the control group (p = 0.36). Mean transfused volume of Cell Saver (CS) was 282 ml in the n-3FA group and 321 ml in the control group (p = 0.30). A post hoc power analysis showed that the study was powered to detect a minimum difference of 105 ml for EBL and 50 ml for CS. The multivariate generalized estimating equation did not show a significant difference between groups for EBL or CS (p = 0.35 and p = 0.29, respectively). Secondary outcomes including drop in postoperative hemoglobin, transfusion requirement, complications and surgical drain output were similar between the two groups.


The n-3FA use did not contribute to higher perioperative blood loss during spinal arthrodesis.

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Correspondence to Dennis S. Meredith.

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Meredith, D.S., Kepler, C.K., Hirsch, B. et al. The effect of omega-3 fatty-acid supplements on perioperative bleeding following posterior spinal arthrodesis. Eur Spine J 21, 2659–2663 (2012).

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  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Bleeding
  • Spinal arthrodesis