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Omega-3s Could Reduce Risk of Heart Attack in Stent Patients

Paul Tearle/Thinkstock(KRAKOW, Poland) -- When combined with blood-thinning drugs, omega-3 fatty acids could help to cut down the risk of heart attacks in patients with stents implanted in their coronary arteries, according to a new study from Poland.

A stent is a small tube placed in the coronary arteries of heart disease patients to allow for more normal blood and oxygen flow to the heart.  If blood clots form and create blockage at the stent, then the result could be heart attack.

Researchers in the study looked at 54 patients with an average age of 63 who had undergone the stent procedure.  During the weeks after the stent implantation, the patients were taking the standard daily therapy for their condition -- an anti-platelet drug (Plavix) and aspirin.  Twenty-four patients were then given a placebo pill and 30 received an omega-3 pill.  

Researchers found that those taking the omega-3 fatty acids experienced improvements, compared to the placebo group.

"Our results demonstrated improved clot properties and decreased thrombin [clot promoter] formation after treatment with the fish oil capsules," Dr. Grzegorz Gajos of John Paul II Hospital in Krakow, Poland stated in the research report.

The authors of the study noted that their findings may not be applicable to other groups, such as healthy people or those with high-risk coronary artery disease and those not taking blood thinners.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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