Fish oil has a cardioprotective effect in adults with ischemic heart disease.

The authors examined the effects of fish oil in children with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Eighteen DCM patients (group I) and 12 healthy children (group III) were given fish oil (10 mL/d). Their cardiac findings were compared with those of 11 patients with DCM who did not receive fish oil (group II). After 6.62+/-1.70 months, left ventricular ejection fraction had increased by 8.44%+/-3.80% (P<.05), in group I; 2.48%+/-3.85% (not statistically significant) in group II; and 0.84%+/-2.34% (not statistically significant) in group III. Left ventricular internal diastolic diameter (mm) was reduced by 4.36+/-4.86 (P=.001) in group I and 1.92+/-5.37 (P=.263) in group II, but increased by 0.22+/-2.54 (not statistically significant) in group III.

The results suggest that fish oil leads to accelerated improvement of left ventricular function. The authors believe that if these results are confirmed in larger studies, fish oil should be added to the standard anticongestive therapy of children with DCM.