Fish Oil Capsules Prolong the Life of AV Grafts in Patients undergoing Hemodialysis

Many patients with end stage kidney disease depend upon hemodialysis to sustain life. Synthetic arterio-venous grafts are created in such patients for vascular access during hemodialysis. They are artificial vessels which join an artery to a vein. However, over a period of time, these AV grafts get clogged due to stenosis and thrombosis and disrupt the blood flow through them. The patients then have to undergo surgical procedures to clear these disruptions. Not only do these procedures add to the cost of the treatment but they are also time consuming and burdensome for patients whose quality of life is already poor because of hemodialysis. Now scientists have found that consuming fish oil capsules can reduce the clogging of the AV grafts and prolong the life of the grafts. The research has been published in the latest issue of the Journal of American Medical Association.

The Fish Oil Inhibition of Stenosis in Hemodialysis Grafts (FISH) study was a randomized double blind, controlled clinical trial carried out under the leadership of Dr. Charmaine E. Lok, University of Toronto and Toronto General Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She and her colleagues carried out the study after many other researchers  found that fish oil is beneficial in cardiovascular conditions. The study was carried out at 15 dialysis centers across the US and Canada between November 2003 and December 2010. Participants of the study included 201 adults suffering from stage 5 chronic kidney disease.  50% of the participants were women while 53% of them were diabetics. The patients were followed up for a period of 12 months after an AV graft was placed in them for hemodialysis. The participants were randomly divided into two groups and received either 1 gram fish oil capsule or a placebo four times daily from the 7th day after the creation of the graft.

The researchers noted that the rate of failure of the AV graft was lower in the group which received fish oil capsules compared to the group which received the placebo (3.43 compared to 5.95). The fish oil group had 50 times less cases of thrombosis, required fewer corrective surgical interventions, had lower systolic blood pressure and lower incidence of cardiovascular events. Although it did not reduce the incidence of grafts losing their native patency within 12 months, fish oil capsules definitely improved the secondary outcomes for the patients and improved their quality of life.

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Date: 
Friday, May 4, 2012