The prognostic utility of dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA) in patients with acute coronary heart disease

Dennis W.T. Nilsen, Hildegunn Aarsetoey, Volker Pönitz, Trygve Brugger-Andersen, Harry Staines, William S. Harris, Heidi Grundt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background We previously investigated the prognostic utility of red blood cell (RBC) n-3 fatty acids (FAs) in survivors of an acute myocardial syndrome (ACS) but found no relationship with all-cause mortality and cardiac death or MI after two years. Here we extend our follow-up to 7 years, focusing on the potential predictive power of RBC n-6 FAs. Methods We included 398 ACS patients presenting with increased troponin-T (TnT) levels for whom baseline RBC FA data were available. Cox regression analysis was used to relate the risk of future events to RBC n-6 FA levels, both continuously and by quartile. Results At 7-year follow-up, 183 (46.0%) had died, 128 (32.2%) had experienced another MI and 24 (6.0%) had had a stroke. Death or MI occurred in 227 patients (57.0%); and death, MI or stroke in 235 patients (59.0%). In a multivariable Cox regression model for total death, the hazard ratio (HR) in the highest as compared to the lowest quartile of dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (DGLA) was 0.55 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.35–0.88, p = 0.012, for death or MI [HR 0.62 (95% CI, 0.41–0.94), p = 0.025], and for the fully combined endpoint [HR 0.57 (95% CI, 0.38–0.86), p = 0.006]. Similar results were found in the per 1-SD analysis. No other RBC n-6 FAs significantly predicted these outcomes in multivariable models. Conclusion RBC DGLA levels had significant independent prognostic value in post-ACS patients. These findings need confirmation, and the possible biochemical pathways by which higher DGLA membrane levels may be cardioprotective should be explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-17
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
StatePublished - Dec 15 2017


  • Acute coronary syndrome (ACS)
  • Dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA)
  • Myocardial infarction (MI)
  • Prognosis
  • Stroke
  • Total mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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