Cardiovascular, electrophysiologic, and hematologic effects of omega-3 fatty acids beyond reducing hypertriglyceridemia: as it pertains to the recently published REDUCE-IT trial

Author Department

Cardiology; Medicine

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date



Heart disease continues to affect health outcomes globally, accounting for a quarter of all deaths in the United States. Despite the improvement in the development and implementation of guideline-directed medical therapy, the risk of adverse cardiac events remains substantially high. Historically, it has been debated whether omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids provide clinical benefit in cardiac disease. The recently published REDUCE-IT trial demonstrated a statistically significant absolute risk reduction of 4.8% in its primary endpoint (cardiovascular death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, nonfatal stroke, coronary revascularization, or unstable angina) with the use of icosapent ethyl, which is a highly purified eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) ethyl ester. However, the mechanism of action of omega-3 fatty acids is not commonly discussed. Moreover, the use of EPA was not without risk, as the incidence of atrial fibrillation was increased along with a trend towards increased bleeding risk. Thus, our aim is to help explain the function of purified EPA ethyl ester, especially at the molecular level, which will ultimately lead to a better understanding of their clinically observable effects.