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Review: n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids reduce fatal myocardial infarction, sudden death, and overall mortality in coronary artery disease

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 QUESTION: In patients with coronary artery disease (CAD), is dietary or supplemental intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids more effective than a control diet or placebo for reducing fatal and non-fatal myocardial infarction (MI) and overall mortality?

Data sources

Studies in any language were identified by searching Medline, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, Pascal BioMed, and Index Medicus from 1966 to August 1999; by searching the Cochrane Library; and by scanning bibliographies of relevant publications.

Study selection

Studies were selected if they were randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that compared dietary or supplemental intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids with a control diet or placebo, reported fatal or non-fatal MI and overall mortality, and followed patients with MI or angiographically established CAD for ≥ 6 months. Studies with …

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  • Sources of funding: University of Basel Hospitals; Byk AG; Semomed AG, Switzerland.

  • For correspondence: Dr H C Bucher, Institut für Klinische Epidemiologie, Kantonsspital Basel, Basel, Switzerland.hbucher{at}