Cardiovascular risk and the omega-3 index Clemens von Schackya and William S. Harris
A reliable risk factor for sudden cardiac death (SCD) for the general population remains to be defined. We propose the omega-3 index, defined as the combined percentage of eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acids (DHA) in red blood cell membranes. It reflects the EPARDHA status of a given individual. It can be determined by a standardised and reproducible laboratory procedure. Several lines of evidence support the omega-3 index as a risk factor for SCD: in epidemiological studies, a steep dependence of risk for SCD and the omega-3 index has been observed between 6.5% (risk 0.1) and 3.3% (risk 1.0). EPA+DHA are antiarrhythmic on the supraventricular and ventricular levels. Dietary EPA+DHA reduce the incidence of SCD. Cardiac societies recommend EPA+DHA for prevention of SCD. The omega-3 index can assess risk for SCD and monitor therapy with EPA+DHA. Moreover, it compares very favourably with other risk factors for SCD.
J Cardiovasc Med 8 (suppl 1):S46–S49 Q 2007 Italian Federation of Cardiology. Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine 2007, 8 (suppl 1):S46–S49 Keywords: coronary artery disease, docosahexaenoic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, omega-3 index, risk factors, sudden cardiac death