Association Between Omega-3 Fatty Acid Levels and Aortic Valve Calcium (from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis)

Anthony D. Pisaniello, Abdulhamied Alfaddagh, Martin Tibuakuu, Seamus P. Whelton, Matthew J. Czarny, Michael J. Blaha, Michael Y. Tsai, Matthew J. Budoff, Steven Shea, Matthew A. Allison, Wendy S. Post

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Calcific aortic valve disease, a condition of chronic inflammation, is associated with increased cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality. Omega-3 fatty acids (O3FAs) reduce both acute and chronic inflammation, but their associations with aortic valve calcium (AVC) have not been studied. The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis is a prospective cohort study of 6,814 adults without clinical cardiovascular disease. Plasma fatty acid levels and cardiac computed tomography (CT) scans were performed at baseline, and CT scans were performed at subsequent clinical visits over a median 9-year period. We assessed whether plasma levels of O3FAs and their species correlate with the presence, severity, and progression of AVC measured by CT in Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. The mean age of the 6,510 included participants with baseline fatty acid levels, AVC, and covariate data was 62.1 ± 10.2 years, and 47.1% of the participants were male. Race distribution was 38.6% White, 27.2% Black, 22.1% Hispanic/Latino, and 12.1% Chinese. Among the 6,510 participants, 5,884 had a subsequent CT scan, and 3,304 had a third CT scan with AVC measurements. At baseline, 862 participants (13.2%) had prevalent AVC (Agatston score >0), and were more likely to be of older age, male, of the White race, have a lower education level, and have co-morbidities that are associated with a higher risk for AVC. Plasma tertiles of eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, and total O3FA were not associated with prevalent AVC at baseline, incident AVC, or change in AVC. In conclusion, plasma levels of O3FAs in subjects not routinely supplemented with O3FAs are not useful for predicting the presence or development of AVC. Whether high plasma O3FA levels, achievable by high-dose O3FA over-the-counter supplementation or pharmacotherapy, is associated with AVC requires further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-110
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
StatePublished - Dec 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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