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Cardiology Research and Practice
Volume 2012, Article ID 746709, 8 pages
Review Article

How Are n-3 LCPUFAs Antiarrhythmic? A Reassessment of n-3 LCPUFAs in Cardiac Disease

1Keenan Research Centre, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada M5B 1W8
2Division of Cardiology, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada M5B 1W8
3Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 1A8

Received 5 March 2012; Revised 1 June 2012; Accepted 12 June 2012

Academic Editor: Ottar Kjell Nygård

Copyright © 2012 Andrew Ramadeen and Paul Dorian. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Long-chain n-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCPUFAs), referring particularly to marine-derived eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have been shown to be effective in treating arrhythmias in some clinical trials and animal studies. The mechanism for this effect of n-3 LCPUFAs is not well understood. Experimental studies and clinical trials published in the 1980s and 1990s suggested that n-3 LCPUFAs may be antiarrhythmic drugs, but more recent trials have not confirmed this. In this paper, we examine evidence for, and against, the direct antiarrhythmic action of n-3 LCPUFAs and suggest that antistructural remodeling effects of n-3 LCPUFAs may be more relevant in accounting for their clinical effects.