Research Article| Volume 221, ISSUE 2, P514-520, April 2012

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Effect of Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on markers of platelet and endothelial function in patients with peripheral arterial disease



      Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce platelet and endothelial activation in patients with or at risk of cardiac disease. We aimed to determine if Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in addition to best medical therapy can reduce the increased platelet and endothelial activity that is present in patients with intermittent claudication.


      One hundred and fifty patients who were receiving aspirin and statin therapy were recruited into a randomised cross-over double blind study involving 6 week supplementation with OMACOR fish oil (850–882 mg eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid) versus placebo. A 12 week washout period occurred between treatments. Patients with diabetes were excluded. For each outcome a random effects model was fitted in which treatment and period were fixed effects and patients were random effects.


      Omega-3 supplementation had no effect on the primary outcome measure von Willebrand factor. Similarly Omega-3 supplementation resulted in no change in unstimulated or stimulated P-selectin expression and fibrinogen binding, or platelet aggregation (ultegra point of care). Pulse wave velocity was also unchanged. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein, s-ICAM and IL-6 were also unchanged.


      Supplementation with Omega-3 fatty acids had no affect on platelet and endothelial activation or markers of inflammation in patients with peripheral arterial disease.


      • Patient's with intermittent claudication have increased platelet and endothelial activity.
      • We performed a cross-over double blind study of 6 week of OMACOR fish oil versus placebo.
      • Omega-3 supplementation had no effect on the primary outcome measure von Willebrand factor.
      • Omega-3 supplementation had no effect on pulse wave velocity.
      • Omega-3 supplementation did not alter platelet aggregation or expression of markers of activation.


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