Currently the most e-mailed article on the New York Times Website is one about fish oil being used in Europe after heart attacks, but not in the United States.
Every patient in the cardiac care unit at the San Filippo Neri Hospital who survives a heart attack goes home with a prescription for purified fish oil.
“It is clearly recommended in international guidelines,” said Dr. Massimo Santini, the hospital’s chief of cardiology, who added that it would be considered tantamount to malpractice in Italy to omit the drug.
Omitting omega-3 is considered malpractice? Not surprising. In Denmark, every nursing mother is required to start taking fish oil supplements within 7 days of childbirth!
As the article correctly points out, “In a large number of studies, prescription fish oil has been shown to improve survival after heart attacks and to reduce fatal heart rhythms.” However, in the United States, fish oil supplements aren’t typically recommended for people that have had heart attacks. Instead, they “are routinely offered more expensive and invasive treatments, like pills to lower cholesterol or implantable defibrillators.”
How likely are US physicians to prescribe fish oil following a heart attack?
A study published last month in The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine found that only 17 percent of family doctors were likely to prescribe fish oil to their patients, including patients who had suffered a heart attack. There was a great need, the authors concluded, to improve awareness of this important advice.
Maybe your doctor has some ‘splainin to do!