Original articlesCardiovascular risk and the omega-3 indexvon Schacky, Clemens; Harris, William SAuthor Information aPreventive Cardiology, Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik Innenstadt, Ludwig Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany bSanford Research/USD, Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA Correspondence to Prof Clemens von Schacky, Preventive Cardiology, Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik Innenstadt, Ziemssenstr. 1, 80336 Munich, Germany Fax: +49 89 51602194; e-mail: [email protected] Acknowledgements: Clemens von Schacky's original research was supported by Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft, Wilhelm Sander Stiftung, National Institutes of Health, USA, and various pharmaceutical companies. Clemens von Schacky owns Omegametrix, Europe, a company that offers measuring the omega-3 index. William S. Harris' original research was supported by National Institutes of Health, USA, and the Saint Luke's Hospital Foundation of Kansas City, USA. Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine: September 2007 - Volume 8 - Issue - p S46-S49 doi: 10.2459/01.JCM.0000289273.87803.87 Buy Metrics Abstract A reliable risk factor for sudden cardiac death (SCD) for the general population remains to be defined. We propose the omega-3 index, defined as the combined percentage of eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acids (DHA) in red blood cell membranes. It reflects the EPA + DHA status of a given individual. It can be determined by a standardised and reproducible laboratory procedure. Several lines of evidence support the omega-3 index as a risk factor for SCD: in epidemiological studies, a steep dependence of risk for SCD and the omega-3 index has been observed between 6.5% (risk 0.1) and 3.3% (risk 1.0). EPA + DHA are antiarrhythmic on the supraventricular and ventricular levels. Dietary EPA + DHA reduce the incidence of SCD. Cardiac societies recommend EPA + DHA for prevention of SCD. The omega-3 index can assess risk for SCD and monitor therapy with EPA + DHA. Moreover, it compares very favourably with other risk factors for SCD. © 2007 Italian Federation of Cardiology. All rights reserved.