Death from sepsis in the intensive care unit (ITU) is frequently preceded by the development of multiple organ failure as a result of uncontrolled inflammation. Treatment with ω-3 has been demonstrated to attenuate the effects of uncontrolled inflammation and may be clinically beneficial.

A randomized control trial investigating the effects of parenteral ω-3 was carried out. Consecutive patients diagnosed with sepsis were entered into the study and randomized to receive either parenteral ω-3 or standard medical care only. The primary outcome measure was a reduction in organ dysfunction using the Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score as a surrogate marker. The secondary outcome measures were mortality, length of stay, mean C-reactive protein (CRP), and days free of organ dysfunction/failure.

Sixty patients were included in the study. The baseline demographics were matched for the two cohorts. Patients treated with parenteral ω-3 were associated with a significant reduction in new organ dysfunction (Δ-SOFA 2.2 ± 2.2 vs. 1.0 ± 1.5, P = .005 and maximum-SOFA 10.1 ± 4.2 vs. 8.1 ± 3.2, P = .041) and maximum CRP (186.7 ± 78 vs. 141.5 ± 62.6, P = .019). There was no significant reduction in the length of stay between cohorts. Patients treated with ω-3 in the strata of less severe sepsis had a significant reduction in mortality (P = .042).

The treatment of critically ill septic patients with parenteral ω-3 is safe. It is associated with a significant reduction in organ dysfunction. It may be associated with a reduction in mortality in patients with less severe sepsis.