Erythrocyte very long-chain saturated fatty Acids associated with lower risk of incident sudden cardiac arrest

Abstract Prior studies suggest that circulating n-3 and trans-fatty acids influence the risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Yet, while other fatty acids also differ in their membrane properties and biological activities which may influence SCA, little is known about the associations of other circulating fatty acids with SCA. The aim of this study was to investigate the associations of 17 erythrocyte membrane fatty acids with SCA risk. We used data from a population-based case-control study of SCA in the greater Seattle, Washington, area. Cases, aged 25–74 years, were out-of-hospital SCA patients, attended by paramedics (n=265). Controls, matched to cases by age, sex and calendar year, were randomly identified from the community (n=415). All participants were free of prior clinically-diagnosed heart disease. Blood was obtained at the time of cardiac arrest by attending paramedics (cases) or at the time of an interview (controls). Higher levels of erythrocyte very long-chain saturated fatty acids (VLSFA) were associated with lower risk of SCA. After adjustment for risk factors and levels of n-3 and trans-fatty acids, higher levels of 20:0 corresponding to 1 SD were associated with 30% lower SCA risk (13–43%, p=0.001). Higher levels of 22:0 and 24:0 were associated with similar lower SCA risk (ORs for 1 SD-difference: 0.71 [95% CI: 0.57–0.88, p=0.002] for 22:0; and 0.79 [95% CI: 0.63–0.98, p=0.04] for 24:0). These novel findings support the need for investigation of biologic effects of circulating VLSFA and their determinants.