Background: The use of omega-3 fatty acids is a currently proven strategy for secondary prevention of heart disease. The prescription practices for this important nutraceutical is not currently known. It is imperative to assess the knowledge of cardiologists regarding the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and to determine the frequency of its prescription. The aim of the study was to determine the practices and associations of dietary fish prescribing among cardiologists of Karachi and to assess their knowledge of fish oil supplementation and attitudes toward dietary practices. Methods: A cross sectional survey was conducted during the period of January to March, 2008. A self report questionnaire was employed. All practicing cardiologists of Karachi were included in the study. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to determine the independent factors associated with high fish prescribers. Results: The sample comprised of a total of 163 cardiologists practicing in Karachi, Pakistan. Most (73.6%) of the cardiologists fell in the age range of 28 - 45 years and were male (90.8%). High fish prescribers only comprised 36.2% of the respondents. After adjusting for age and gender, multivariate analysis revealed that only the variable of knowledge about fish oil's role in reducing sudden cardiac death was independently associated with high fish prescribers OR = 6.38 [95% CI 2.58-15.78]. Conclusion: The level of knowledge about the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids is high and the cardiologists harbor a favorable attitude towards dispensing dietary fish advice. However, the prescription practices are less than optimal and not concordant with recommendations of organisations such as the American Heart Association and National Heart Foundation of Australia. The knowledge of prevention of sudden cardiac death in CVD Patients has been identified as an important predictor of high fish prescription. This particular life-saving property of omega-3 fatty acids should be the focus of any implemented educational strategy targeted to improve secondary CVD prevention via omega-3 fatty acid supplementation.
BMC Cardiovascular Disorders
(2009). Secondary prevention of heart disease - knowledge among cardiologists and Omega-3 (Omega-3) fatty acid prescribing behaviors in Karachi, Pakistan. BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, 9, 4-4.
Available at: http://ecommons.aku.edu/pakistan_fhs_mc_med_cardiol/32