PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Of all known dietary factors, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids may be the most protective against death from coronary heart disease. New evidence has confirmed and refined the cardioprotective role of these fatty acids.

RECENT FINDINGS: Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation reduces the risk of sudden cardiac death and death from any cause within 4 months in post-myocardial infarction patients. Evidence continues to accrue for benefits in the primary prevention of coronary heart disease and stroke, and an anti-arrhythmogenic mechanism is emerging as the most likely explanation.

SUMMARY: Current evidence suggests that individuals with coronary artery disease may reduce their risk of sudden cardiac death by increasing their intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids by approximately 1 g per day.