HealthDay News — High doses of omega-3 fatty acids may protect against further damage in myocardial infarction patients, a preliminary study suggests. The study will be presented March 16 at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology (ACC), held from March 14 to 16 in San Diego.

The research included 374 myocardial infarction survivors who received standard treatment and took either a 4-gram prescription-only dose of omega-3 fatty acids each day or a placebo. Using magnetic resonance imaging, the patients’ hearts were scanned two weeks, four weeks, and six months after MI.

Patients taking the omega-3 capsules had lower levels of inflammation and were 39% less likely to show deterioration of heart function than those taking placebo, the researchers found.

There was also significantly less evidence of fibrosis. Patients with a 5% rise in the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood seemed most likely to benefit from the supplements.

“Giving a high dose of fish oil soon after a heart attack appears to improve cardiac structure and heart functioning above and beyond the standard of care,” study researcher Raymond Kwong, MD, MPH, director of cardiac MRI at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said in an ACC news release.

“Because this is a unique group of patients with remarkably high adherence to [guideline-directed] treatments for acute MI already, we feel fairly confident that the benefits from the supplement are additive. The implications of this study could be fairly large.”

GlaxoSmithKline provided the medication (Lovaza) for the study.

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